JAMIE CUDMORE HAS renewed his call for world rugby bosses to implement improved concussion protocols as he shared the story of his own frightening head injuries.
The Canada international alleges that on two occasions while at Clermont Auvergne, he was allowed to return to action when he was clearly unfit to keep playing.
Cudmore was a guest on BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight on Wednesday and recalled how he suffered a concussion when he collided with Saracens’ Billy Vunipola during the 2015 Champions Cup semi-final.
“I suffered some pretty bad after effects after two concussions in a very short period of time of the 2015 European Cup semi-final and then two weeks later in the final,” the 38-year-old said.
“I was involved in a head collision in the semi-final in Saint-Etienne. I was taken off the field for blood but our doctor realised that I’d had a concussion.
“I was taken off the pitch for blood and for the HIA (Head Injury Assessment) which happened in the changing room during that game.
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“I was deemed unfit to play. I was told to take off my boots and sit down.
“And like any rugby player, we always want to play so I said, ‘Yeah, sweet,’ laced my boot back up and went out and finished the game.”
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Following a series of tests, Cudmore was cleared to play in the European final against Toulon but was injured two more times in that game, firstly following a run-of-the-mill tackle on Chris Masoe, and then following a head collision.
Despite vomiting in the changing room, he was still allowed to return to finish the game.
“I had some really bad after effects in the week following. I was given complete rest, I was brought into see a neurosurgeon, I did many tests during the 10 days after that, and I was deemed fit to play in the final two weeks later in Twickenham.
“Clearly I wasn’t good enough to play because the first contact I made in the final, about 10 minutes in, I was commotioned again in a tackle with Chris Masoe.
“A normal tackle but right there, just the impact of the shoulder going into Masoe’s side, that was enough to spark me out. I was taken off. I passed the HIA. I was allowed to come back on the field as I had passed the HIA.
Cudmore added: ”I think when we talk about protecting players’ health, when things like that are still happening, things like George North being put back on the field, it’s nice to say that we want to protect players but we’ve really got to put some action behind those words.”
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