Concerning head knock for Barrett

Beauden Barrett will be closely monitored after a concerning head knock, says Blues coach Leon MacDonald.

Blues first-five Beauden Barrett was forced off the field with a knock to the head in the Blues' Super Rugby Pacific win over the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday night, just weeks after saying he feared his career was over due to concussion symptoms.

Barrett had returned to rugby recently following a serious concussion in November during the All Blacks' loss to Ireland, and last night's game at Forsyth Barr Stadium was his first start of the season.

The 30-year-old was taken off in the 41st minute after a collision with Highlanders centre Fetuli Paea. Two medics came on to the field to attend to Barrett who had a bleeding nose and lip.

"We're never going to take any chances with Beauden," said Blues coach Leon MacDonald after the game.

"We want to look after his health and make sure he is well."

"It was an automatic decision (taking him off)... He's got a good fat lip and a bleeding nose, and hopefully it's nothing much more than that. We'll have to track him and see how he cleans up."

Barrett, twice named world player of the year, earlier this month said his recovery period in the aftermath of the injury against Ireland was "extremely challenging".

"I'm well aware of how concussion can lead to retirement if it doesn't work out. Kane, my brother, had to give up his career because of it. I see plenty of good friends and team mates have done the same in the past," he told the New Zealand Herald.

"It's probably the closest I've been to retirement and I wasn't ready for it... The hardest thing about this one was not finding the cure. That's the million-dollar question with a lot of these concussions. It was frustrating."

Before the incident, Barrett put in a strong first-half performance that included a try and 13 points before leaving the field.


Photo: PHOTOSPORT  Caption Beauden Barrett at Dunedin