Joe Marler reveals he once forgot he had children after taking blow to the head

The England rugby union international Joe Marler has revealed he once had “no recollection of having kids” shortly after taking a blow to the head during a game.

Marler has said the incident “scared the life out of me”, but admitted he still “buries [his] head in the sand” over concussion fears. The Harlequins prop has spoken out after the former Wales captain, Ryan Jones, revealed his diagnosis of early-onset dementia last weekend.

Describing the incident, which took place several years ago, Marler told talkSport he had been knocked “out cold” after attempting a tackle. When he woke up in the Harlequins physio room, the club kit man asked if Marler’s wife had brought the couple’s children with her to the game.

Marler did not know what the man was talking about. “He said, ‘What about the kids?’ I went, ‘Pardon?’ [Then] I just paused and broke down … I had no recollection of having kids and it just really scared the life out of me.”

“It all came back together and it happens. Those concussions happen in rugby, it’s a contact sport,” the 32-year-old added. “Since those moments I just ignore it and bury my head in the sand. But the more it comes out and the more apparent it becomes in the sport, the more boys are getting diagnosed with this stuff, it’s sad.”

Marler also revealed that his wife, Daisy, took a stand over a concussion he suffered last season. After deciding to “crack on” without following protocols, she reminded him of his responsibility to their children.

“She was like: ‘No, I’m not having it any more. If you get a head knock, you follow the right protocols and you tell someone, because it’s not about you anymore’.”

In an interview with the Sunday Times (£), Jones revealed that he has been diagnosed with probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), thought to be caused by repeated impacts to the head. His doctors told him it was one of the worst cases they had ever seen.

The 41-year-old father of three children and three stepchildren, who captained Wales 33 times, said: “I feel like my world is falling apart … I lived 15 years of my life like a superhero and I’m not. I just want to lead a happy, healthy, normal life. I feel that’s been taken away and there’s nothing I can do.”

Jones has now joined a group of former players, including the former England World Cup winner Steve Thompson, in taking legal action against World Rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union and the Rugby Football Union over concussion prevention.