The debate surrounding concussion in rugby has raised it’s head far too often in recent months. Although some head collisions are unavoidable, the sport’s head injury assessment is supposed to protect players who may have suffered a head injury.
However, as the recent controversy involving George North demonstrated, rugby’s HIA are not strong enough to prevent players from returning to the field after they suffered an obvious head injury.
Even more frightening are two incidents involving Jamie Cudmore in 2015. The Canadian enforcer alleges that on two occasions while playing for Clermont Auvergne, he was allowed return to the field by the club’s doctor despite being obviously concussed.
Cudmore made the allegation on BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight, recalling how he suffered a concussion after colliding with Billy Vunipola during Clermont’s 2015 European Rugby Champions Cup encounter with Saracens.
Cudmore was deemed unfit to play following the incident, but after one of his teammates was subsequently injured, the Canadian claims the ‘doctor came running back in the changing room and said, “Listen, the other second row is no good. Can you come back on?”
Following the semi final encounter, Cudmore underwent a series of tests and was deemed fit to play in the final against Toulon.
However, despite being removed after suffering two further head injuries and vomiting in the dressing room as a result, Cudmore was once again allowed to take his place on the field of play.
Cudmore’s story shines a light on what might be occurring in dressing rooms throughout the rugby world, and once more highlights the need for more powerful HIA regulations.
— Rugby Tonight (@RugbyTonight) December 29, 2016
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Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena