Barrett was upended after Springbok winger Kurt-Lee Arendse crashed into him in mid-air late in South Africa’s 26-10 victory as the All Blacks suffered a fifth loss in their last six games.
The incident earned Arendse a red card and he was later banned for four matches.
Barrett said that he instantly feared for his neck after crashing head first into the turf at Mbombela Stadium.
“It was quite a big collision and I did think the worst instantly, especially when I was on the ground and told to stay still,” the 31-year-old said.
“It wasn’t until (the doctor) came on and asked me, ‘Can you move your fingers? Your toes?’ I was relieved to have passed those tests.
“I eventually sat up and was able to walk off and get on with it.
“But there was a fearful period there for a minute or so where you do think of the worst.
“It’s quite scary when you go over backwards and you find yourself come down on your head and shoulders.”
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is under pressure to beat the world champions in Saturday’s second Test against South Africa in order to guarantee his job for the rest of The Rugby Championship.
Barrett said belief is still strong in the All Blacks’ camp and called on New Zealand fans to get behind their team.
“Winning is a habit, but losing can be too,” he said.
“We have to remember how well we can do the simple things, why we play the game and what got us here in the first place, not over-complicating things and just enjoy playing footy.
“All I ask is the fans believe in us, have our backs and support (us) because we certainly need that.”
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