Jamie Cudmore has been a hugely vocal supporter of moves to focus on concussion in the sport of rugby, and has spoken about the after effects that he personally experienced in the wake of head injuries he has sustained.
The case of George North, who suffered a head injury and was allowed to return to the field of play, has seen the issue making headlines again in recent weeks.
Northampton Saints received no sanction from a joint Premiership Rugby and Rugby Football Union (RFU) review panel, despite the admission that the player's previous high profile head injuries should have come into consideration when the decision was made on whether or not North should play on.
Commenting on the matter, Cudmore asked "who is accountable" in that type of situation, noting that no one was being made to answer for what happened in this case.
Who is accountable in @WorldRugby and pro clubs when their players are put back on the field after suffering concussion?! No one ?!? #sinbin
— Jamie Cudmore (@JNCudmore) December 21, 2016
Speaking on BT Sport's Rugby Tonight, Cudmore explained the reasons he had chosen to get involved in the move to make rugby safer, and why he set up the Rugby Safety Network.
"I suffered some pretty bad after effects after two concussions in a very short period of time," Cudmore explained. "I was involved in a head collision in the semi-final in Saint-Étienne. I was taken off the field for blood, but our doctor realised that I had a concussion," he added.
Explaining the process that went on behind the scenes in the wake of the injury, Cudmore outlined the worrying approach taken by the Clermont Auvergne team despite knowing that he was concussed.
"I was taken off the pitch for blood and for the HIA [head injury assessment], which happened in the changing room during that game. I was deemed unfit to play, I was told to take off my boots and sit down.
"A few minutes later, the doctor came running back in the changing and said: 'Listen, the other second row is no good, can you come back on?', and like any rugby player we always want to play, so I said: 'Yeah, sweet,' laced my boots back up and went out and finished the game."
Jamie Cudmore talks to #RugbyTonight in detail about why his personal experience led him to set up @RugbySafetyNet. https://t.co/QenNwDWmaa
— Rugby Tonight (@RugbyTonight) December 28, 2016
Cudmore added that he had really bad after effects in the week after the game, and was even brought into see a neurosurgeon as a result.
However, he was still deemed fit to play in the final two weeks later, but was struggling from the impact of a challenge after just a few minutes.
"I was taken off, I passed the HIA. I was allowed to come back on the field as I passed the HIA, and later on in the game I suffered a head knock with - I think - Juan Smith. I went off for blood and during that time I was off getting stitched up, I became very nauseous and I started vomiting in the changing room in front of a few other players that were there on the bench as well. I was still allowed to go back on the field and finish the game."
"When we talk about protecting players' health and things like that are still happening [...] we've really got to put some action behind those words," Cudmore added.
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