'It's a cloud hanging over rugby': Mike Tindall to get checked for brain damage

Mike Tindall plans to get checked for brain damage because of his decades playing rugby.

Mike Tindall

Mike Tindall plans to get checked for brain damage.

The former England rugby captain - who retired from the sport in 2014 - admitted his decades on the field tackling opponents have given him concerns for his long-term health, but if tests do show there's a problem, he won't "blame the game".

He told The Times magazine: "Brain damage is a cloud hanging over rugby.

"Rugby is a contact sport and the defensive side of it was one of my strongest elements, so I’ve probably made more tackles than most.

"I haven’t got myself checked yet, but it is on my list of things to do. Worst case scenario, if something is happening, I’m not going to blame the game for it."

Mike is married to Zara Tindall, the niece of King Charles, and he admitted his royal connection was useful when he retired.

He said: "Retiring took a lot of adjustment. You do get institutionalised in sport – you only have to worry about one meal a day because everything else is provided for you.

"Then you wake up one morning and you don’t have a reason to get out of bed. It’s tricky.

"When I retired, I came out in the best situation – obviously marrying into the family keeps you relevant and gives you opportunities. But still, it was hard."

Attending royal functions can be "strange" because of protocol, such as at the coronation concert held earlier this year, where the family couldn't dance until the monarch made the first move.

Mike said: "You have to wait for the King to start dancing and then you can go for it.

"It’s always strange to be sitting in that scenario, where normally you’d want to get up and dance to everything. But you’re aware that you’re on camera.

"Once the King and Queen are up and dancing, you can do whatever you want."

The Prince and Princess of Wales recently appeared on Mike's podcast, 'The Good, The Bad and The Rugby', along with his mother-in-law, Princess Anne, and the couple discussed their competitive natures, prompting the former sportsman to joke about Catherine's beer pong skills.

But Mike has now warned the princess needs to improve her skills at the drinking game.

He laughed: "The Princess of Wales hasn’t beaten me at beer pong yet. I’ll keep giving her the opportunity to, though. She’s very competitive but she needs to work on her technique."

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