My ulcer was healing well, having seen off an infection. Then, on Friday came the familiar lightning strikes of pain. Infection was back. I've cleared the diary and will be off to see the Doc on Monday. So - a weekend with my feet up and sport on the TV. No less than four top tier rugby internationals and the climax of the 150th playing of The Open.
On the news this morning, I heard the sad news the former international rugby player, Ryan Jones has been diagnosed with dementia. At age 41. He joins a list of former players taking legal action against the sport's governing bodies.
Rugby is a hard game. No quarter is asked or given. Full contact is an understatement.
It's all got too much.
For most of its history, rugby union has been an amateur sport. The professional era began as late as 1995. Since then, players have got fitter, stronger, faster and heavier. Coaches and commentators talk of "winning the contact" and "dominating tackles". Sounds innocuous enough. What those phrases mean though, is brutal. Picture a big strong player. 100 Kg+ running hard and fast towards a defender. The defender, of similar size, is intent on launching himself at the attacker with sufficient ferocity to reverse his momentum. To hit him hard and put him on his arse, in other words. The forces involved are enormous. Heads, elbows, hips and knees clatter into each other. Teammates come along and dispute the ball, while our two combatants get back in line for another go.
For several years now, alarm bells have been ringing. Boxers, footballers American footballers, rugby players are demonstrably suffering in later life. More and more research categorically shows what worried mothers have known for decades. Huge brutal "contacts" are life-threateningly dangerous.
The rugby authorities have made changes to the laws of the game, the mechanics of certain phases and refereeing. All good moves.
It won't be enough. I love rugby, always have. If I had children, would I let them play?
No. Not a chance.
Now - if you’ll excuse me, I have some golf to watch.