WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All Blacks scrumhalf Piri Weepu has suffered a minor stroke which went undetected for almost a month as he was treated for severe headaches.
Steven Kara, doctor for Weepu's Blues Super Rugby team, said a scan on Monday had revealed the 30-year-old player likely suffered the stroke earlier this month. Kara said the condition was unlikely to be rugby related.
Weepu has complained of migraine-like symptoms since March 1 but the cause of his illness was not immediately discovered. Kara said it would likely not have been detected had Weepu not been in an environment where he was closely monitored.
He said "Piri will be out of rugby for a minimum of four weeks while we continue to investigate this condition."
"Piri presented with transient symptoms that could have been from a migraine before he traveled (to South Africa in early March) 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.
"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. This was a minor stroke and he is expected to make a full recovery. 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."
New Zealand Rugby Union general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen said Weepu was being supported by the union and new Zealand Rugby Players' Association.
"We know that Piri is pretty tough and has proven his ability to bounce back from any medical issue he has had," Sorensen said. "He has access to the best possible care and support."