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Brayshaw relieved to get big hit

Ben Guthrie  August 13, 2017 6:37 PM

I was waiting for the first one. I know hits like that are going to happen, that's part of the sport

IT TOOK less than a quarter for Angus Brayshaw to find himself in the firing line yet again, with the Melbourne young gun involved in another heavy head clash with St Kilda's Koby Stevens in Sunday's game at the MCG.

Describing the contact with Stevens – who was concussed and suffered a burst ear drum – as big a hit as what he's ever going to experience, a relieved Brayshaw said he had been waiting for that type of hit to come. 

"Coming back over the last few weeks that I've been playing (in the VFL) there have been critical contests like that and I've been building into it, going harder and harder," Brayshaw said after the Demons' 24-point win over St Kilda.

"And I think that was as hard a contest as what I'm probably going to face.

"That just shows how far I've come. A month ago I probably wouldn't have been able to do that.

"I bounced straight back up but my Mum (Debra) would've been nearly ready to leave after that. She would have been hating it.

"I was waiting for the first one. I know hits like that are going to happen, that's part of the sport."

Speaking after his first senior game since round two, Brayshaw, pick No.3 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, said he had travelled a long road to reach this point.

The 21-year-old was forced onto the sidelines after suffering his fourth concussion in 12 months while playing for Casey in the VFL in May.

"It's been what 18 weeks since I last played in the AFL. It's a big crowd, a big game for the club and I've just missed it so much," Brayshaw said.

"These 10 minutes after games is the best feeling ever and you miss this so much.

"So it's just great to be back."

Brayshaw is not concerned about any long-term health effects from the concussions, with the Melbourne youngster undergoing numerous tests after the concussion he suffered in May.

"I had a seriously intensive couple of weeks doing all these tests and I've got no brain damage, is the long story short," Brayshaw said.

"I'm still able to function normally. I've been going to university and I haven't had trouble with that so that's been pretty constant throughout.

"I'm cleared completely of any long-term brain damage and short-term brain damage is not a problem that I think about because it's not there.

"But fingers crossed I never get knocked out again."

Brayshaw is not sure whether the black protective helmet he has been wearing saved him from another concussion in the contest with Stevens, but he says he will keep wearing it until he feels comfortable.

"My Mum would definitely say yes (keep wearing it), she's been pushing it a lot. The science is a bit more iffy. For me, it's just one less thing I've got to worry about," Brayshaw said.

"I wouldn't want to die wondering, so to speak. If I didn't wear it and I got knocked out, I'd probably be thinking 'What if'. I'm happy to wear it and it doesn't really affect me when I play so if it's just one less thing that I have to worry about then it's easy." 

Every time he came to the interchange bench against the Saints, Brayshaw would throw off his helmet in disgust as if to say, 'Why do I have to wear this thing?'

"The first two weeks I wore it were out at Casey (Fields) and it was about one degree and blowing a gale so that was fine," Brayshaw said.

"But the last two weeks it's been pretty hot. I've got a big enough head as it is and the heat just radiates out of it and there's no respite until you take it off."

After the contest with Stevens, Brayshaw settled into the game and made a fine return to be one of Melbourne's best players against the Saints, collecting 26 touches (10 contested) in a new role across half-back.

"This has been playing out in my head for the last 20 weeks nearly, so it's good that it's finally happened and I get to celebrate with the guys now," Brayshaw said.