Stroke caused Weepu's headaches
Stroke caused Weepu's headachesSHARE
All Black scrumhalf Piri Weepu has suffered a minor stroke and will be sidelined for at least four weeks, medical staff said on Thursday.
"This was a minor stroke and he is expected to make a full recovery," Stephen Kara, the doctor for Weepu's Blues Super Rugby side, said in a statement.
"However any stroke is serious for anyone at any age and we must now take the time to fully understand the cause of it and the implications for Piri."
The 30-year-old veteran of 71 Tests had a scan on Monday after complaining of migraine-like symptoms dating back nearly four weeks.
Medical staff considered the stroke to be a non-rugby related condition and Weepu is undergoing testing to determine the cause.
"Having spoken to Auckland City Hospital specialists, we are very confident that Piri's condition is not associated with any injury, in particular, any head injury," Kara said.
"Piri [Weepu] will be out of rugby for a minimum of four weeks while we continue to investigate this condition."
Weepu told the New Zealand media earlier this week that the headaches were more annoying than debilitating.
"I've basically been able to play through them," he said.
"During the week sometimes I'd have bad ones and I've just got to lie down and give myself a bit of time off, or just sit down and take a breath, and try to ease up a bit. I'm fine after that."
The New Zealand Rugby Union and the Blues – together with specialist medical services – have rallied around Weepu and his family ensuring they are well supported.
"Piri and his family have the full support of the organisation," Blues coach John Kirwan said.
"He's getting the best possible care and advice and we are grateful this has been picked up by our medical experts, as often minor strokes remain undetected," he added.
The Blues doctor, Kara, is consulting with the New Zealand Rugby Union Medical Director Ian Murphy to determine the cause of the stroke – which appears to have occurred before the team travelled to South Africa in early March.
"Piri presented with transient symptoms that could have been from a migraine before he travelled and was cleared by specialists to travel, as long as he was monitored," Kara said.
"He had no other symptoms to raise further concern while we were away.
"We took the precaution of getting an MRI scan for him this week and we are thankful we are now getting to the bottom of this issue."
New Zealand Rugby General Manager Neil Sorensen said that the 71-Test cap All Black was being supported by New Zealand Rugby and the Players Association.
"We know that Piri is pretty tough and has proven his ability to bounce back from any medical issue he has had to deal with. He has access to the best possible care and support and we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery."