Captain Stevie Ward is 'stood down' by Leeds Rhinos

SKIPPER STEVIE Ward won’t be considered for selection by Leeds Rhinos until his concussion symptoms have completely cleared.

Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward.

Ward has not played since the loss to Hull in Betfred Super League round one, on February 2 and coach Richard Agar has revealed the length of his lay-off is causing “concern”.

The second-row forward has consulted leading specialists in a bid to get to the bottom of the problem and Agar revealed: “We will stand him down indefinitely until we get some more medical checks.”

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He said: “He has failed his return-to-play protocols for probably three weeks. We had him over to see Hiren Patel at Manchester who’s the concussion expert that rugby league, rugby union and football use around the north of England.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar.

“Hiren sent Stevie some strict guidelines and protocols about how to manage himself over the seven-10 days period.

"Stevie got through a fair bit of that feeling okay and feeling good, but as soon as exercise started again that’s when the dizzy spells and blurry vision started again.”

Ward will now undergo further tests, including an MRI scan.

Agar added: “After three weeks, to still be showing the symptoms that gives us a little bit more concern. He will go and see Simon Kemp, who is the RFU’s main concussion man.

Stevie Ward in action against Hull FC.

"The information we’ve got back is they had 10 cases last year of rugby union players whose concussions lasted three months.

“We’re not saying Stevie is going to be three months, but it tells you when we are dealing with issues like this is it is not straight-forward.

"Stevie has been really good during the week, he has felt better, he’s sleeping better, he’s good to go, then the intensity of exercise re-starts some of the symptoms.

“We are further investigating it and sending him on to the next stage of medical [to see] what they can do.”

If Ward shows immediate improvement he could be back in as little as two weeks, but the Rhinos boss stressed: “It’s a tough one, it’s frustrating for us all, but we are very much going to leave this in the hands of the medical experts because it’s certainly not something we can take lightly.”