December 9, 2016 / 3:01 AM / 7 months ago

Broadhurst still battling concussion symptoms after 15 months

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New Zealand All Blacks' James Broadhurst (C) is challenged by South Africa's Eben Etzebeth (L) and Lood de Jager during their Rugby Championship match at Emirates Airline Park Stadium in Johannesburg July 25, 2015.Siphiwe Sibeko

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - One test All Blacks lock James Broadhurst is still suffering from symptoms of concussion after 15 months out of rugby and is to step away from the Wellington Hurricanes to continue his rehabilitation, the team said on Friday.

The 29-year-old, whose only test was against South Africa in Johannesburg in July, 2015, has not played any rugby since he was concussed playing for his provincial side Taranaki the following month.

"It has been difficult being unable to play the game I love for the past 15 months, but dealing with concussion is not something you can rush and in the end my long term health is the primary focus," he said in a statement on Friday.

"I will be continuing a graduated return to exercise away from the team environment because, although I have made progress over the past year I do still experience headaches when my heart rate is elevated.

"On the advice of my medical advisers I won't consider a return to full training until I'm completely symptom free for the required period of time."

Broadhurst is contracted with the Super Rugby champion Hurricanes until the end of the 2017 season and coach Chris Boyd said the team supported his decision.

"We all understand what James is going through and will continue to support him through the process of his rehabilitation and recovery," Boyd said.

"Concussion is a serious issue and the important thing is our players know they have the full support of the club."

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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