BACK row GJ van Velze is expected to return in a better condition than before the concussion which rendered him unavailable for Warriors’ 2016/17 campaign, insists director of rugby Gary Gold.
Van Velze suffered a concussion on the opening day of last season against Saracens at Twickenham, and the return-to-play concussion protocol left the South African out of action for the remainder of the campaign.
But Gold believes the club’s medical team have nursed the 29-year-old back to full fitness after strengthening muscles in his neck.
“He’s been training full-on with all the players and is looking good. The lay-off, whilst it’s been frustrating no doubt for him, has been a needed rest for his body. He’s got a real exuberance of youth to come back with now,” said Gold.
“There were some things post-concussion we picked up on, such as issues on his neck strength. But our medical team has done an amazing job on him.
“Julie Hayton quite literally nursed him back to probably being in a better condition than I think he was before the injury.
“We spent so much time last year studying on how to improve players concussions, and neck strength was one of the factors we found.
“The stronger the neck area is, the more it’s able to protect the head in collision situations.
“It was a find that we stumbled on and it’s made a big difference in GJ’s case. You can see he has a spring in his step and he’s really training well, so long may it last.” he added.