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Lipman quits for his health


Stathi Paxinos

Rebel with a cause: Michael Lipman calls time.

Rebel with a cause: Michael Lipman calls time. Photo: Getty Images

WORSENING side-effects from concussion have forced gutsy Melbourne Rebels breakaway Michael Lipman to immediately retire because of fears of what his life might become if he suffered one more knock to the head.

Lipman, one of the Rebels' best players in their inaugural season last year, shocked teammates yesterday afternoon with his decision, which has come as a result of lingering side-effects from a concussion earlier this season - the latest of what he estimated to be more than 30 cases throughout his career.

''The bottom line is that throughout my career I've had so many bangs to the head and I've had so much concussion … the last couple have been the icing on the cake,'' Lipman said.

''I've just had too many. Enough's enough and when you're body's talking to you like it is now, you've got to listen to it and be sensible because the hardest thing in anything really is to admit that your time is up and to come to terms with it.''

The 32-year-old, who yesterday revealed he went against medical advice to retire in 2009 when playing for English club Bath because of concerns about his concussions, said the side effects had become too debilitating for him to play on.

''It [headache] is always there and you can feel the pressure in your head and when you start running and training it makes it a lot worse,'' said Lipman, who was off contract this season.

''You're just very confused really, and you're hazy and you're very clouded and not many things make sense.

''You just become very, very tired. You become exhausted straight away and you feel like going to sleep, when it should really be the opposite, because when you start working and training, the endorphins release and you get a pick-up. You shouldn't get totally down the way I've been.''

The Rebels are expected to make an official announcement on Lipman's retirement this morning.

Lipman was born in London, but grew up in Sydney and made the Australian under-21 team. However, he played 10 Tests for England.

The concussion and a back injury have limited Lipman's playing time this year, but the open-side breakaway will be remembered for his impressive form last season when, along with Gareth Delve and Jarrod Saffy, he formed a formidable back row in a struggling team.

''I'll miss the whole spectacle and running out to thousands of people, and I'll miss playing with my mates, and I'll miss the banter but, most of all, I'll just miss measuring myself against the best players and learning a lot about yourself,'' Lipman said. ''That's the ultimate challenge, but now I've got a new challenge, so I'm to put everything into that.

''I've been very lucky to have the career that I've had. I've travelled around the world and met such a great network of people but, at the end of the day, I'd like to have a healthy life. There is life after rugby. I'm just really looking forward to the next chapter in my life.''

Lipman also said he wanted to speak about the issues and concerns that he has faced with concussion because it could help other players, and not only those in rugby union.

''There are loads of things going on with concussion at the moment, and it is such a huge aspect in rugby as well as AFL, but the side effects are unknown,'' Lipman said.

''Everyone's getting bigger, stronger and faster, [but] the brain's the brain, if you drop a computer that many times eventually it's not going to turn back on.''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
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