Livingston’s Cristian Montano explained how he is trying to work on the way he jumps for headers in order to protect himself from concussion.
The 31-year-old has had some time out of the team in recent weeks to recover from the effects of a head knock, while he also missed a game earlier in the season for similar reasons.
Montano admits it is something he is having to be “very careful” with, particularly as he is a player who ordinarily wants to throw himself head-first at anything in the air.
“The head injuries have been frustrating,” he said. “Now I’m having to think about how I should jump because I will go for any ball. I don’t care what’s happening, it’s just my nature but I’ve just got to be very careful now.
“My return to play has been slowed down. I’ve had to be patient. As much as I want to play, I have to be understanding of the impact it could have if I play, not just on the team but also on my personal long-term future. It’s got to be taken very seriously.
“When it first happened to me against Kelty Hearts (in the League Cup in July), I didn’t remember how it happened and how long I was on the ground, so I was worried because I hadn’t experienced anything like that.
“I’ve had a couple this season. A few days after the head knocks, I’ve basically had no symptoms, but myself and the physio then have to be extra careful to make sure I’ve recovered.”
Despite his head issues, Montano – who hopes to be involved in Saturday’s cinch Premiership match away to Aberdeen – is delighted at the way he has performed this term after struggling in his first campaign with the Lions following his arrival from Port Vale just over 18 months ago.
“For me, this season has been a success,” said the left-back. “Last season I didn’t really play much because of injuries. But it’s due to the season I had last season that I’m able to have the season I’m having this season in terms of the games I’ve played and the way I’ve played.
“I’ve used my experience from last season to help me be a better player, understand the league better, understand the way Livingston work and the way the manager works.
“My season has been one I always knew I could have but it was just delayed due to new surroundings, new demands, a new league, a new way of playing and understanding the other players, and obviously the injuries I had.
“I’ve taken my experience from last season into this season and it’s paying off. For me, this has been a good season and hopefully I can finish it as strong as possible.”