JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Toulouse condemned after player allowed to play on following severe head knock

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Concussed rugby union player stuns fans

French club Tolouse is under fire after allowing centre Florian Fritz to keep playing after being knocked out in a tackle.

PT0M0S 620 349

French rugby has attracted worldwide condemnation after a player in the country's Top 14 competition was allowed to return to the game after suffering a severe head knock. 

Toulouse centre Florian Fritz was left bloodied and visibly dazed after coming into contact with an opposition player's knee in the 19th minute of his side's 21-16 loss to Racing Metro in Toulouse on Friday.

Video footage showed Fritz being helped off the field and trying to wave off help from match officials before collapsing to the ground on the sideline and taken into the dressing rooms for medical attention. 

Battered: Florian Fritz leaves the field during the quarter-final match between Toulouse and Racing Metro.

Battered: Florian Fritz leaves the field during the quarter-final match between Toulouse and Racing Metro. Photo: AFP

After spending about 17 minutes off the field, separate footage showed him being ushered back out by Toulouse manager Guy Noves to finish the final few minutes of the half. 

Fritz did not return after the break and was replaced with French Test player Gael Fickou.

"I had a small KO [knock out], I don't remember everything," Fritz told French broadcaster Canal+. "It was better to leave a fresh guy like Gaël Fickou [replace him]."

Fritz collapses as he attempts to walk from the field.

Fritz collapses as he attempts to walk from the field. Photo: Screengrab

The incident attracted widespread criticism, much of it centred around Noves's handling of the situation, with players from around Europe condemning Fritz's return to play. 

"What a shambles that Fritz is allowed back on to the field! Makes a mockery of things," respected England prop Alex Corbisiero tweeted on Saturday. 

Former Scotland and Toulon winger Rory Lamont also weighed in, telling that management's decision-making was "bewildering". 

"In terms of all the signs and symptoms of an obvious concussion, that was as bad as it gets," Lamont said.

"To see him come back on after that is just bewildering. It is difficult to tell what went on without speaking to those involved but there is a standard process where medics are put under huge pressure to get a player back on the field."

Rugby worldwide is under fierce pressure to reform its treatment and protocols around head knocks after a number of high profile incidents involving players either returning to play after what appear to be bad head knocks, or suffering long periods out of the game. 

The sport's world governing body, the International Rugby Board (IRB), has rolled out strict protocol nicknamed "head bin" which sees affected players assessed by an independent medico, who decides whether they return to play. 

Last year further guidelines were added, tightening the process so that if a player lost consciousness or was visibly affected by the knock, automatic removal was required. 

However, the IRB's capacity to enforce the way national unions - in this instance the French Rugby Federation (FFR) - use the protocols is severely limited. 

"It is shocking players are still being allowed to return to the field after such obvious signs of concussion," former IRB medical adviser Barry O’Driscoll, who is a critic of the IRB's so-called Pitch Side Concussion Assessment, told English newspaper The Daily Mail

"If rugby doesn’t wake up to this and start demonstrating a zero tolerance approach to head injuries, it will be storing up some very serious legal problems for itself."

Former Super Rugby title-winning Chiefs captain Craig Clarke earlier this year announced an indefinite break from rugby after suffering his 10th concussion in 22 months, the most recent while playing with Irish province Connacht. 

Australian sport has also come under the spotlight for the various codes' handling of concussion in contact sports. 

The Australian Rugby Union's (ARU) chief doctor Warren McDonald was heavily criticised after allowing Wallabies veteran George Smith to return to play after losing consciousness in the third Test against the British and Irish Lions last year. 

The AFL has been forced to review its approach to contact after Melbourne Demons player Jack Viney escaped punishment for his collision with Adelaide's Tom Lynch. Viney was originally suspended for two matches but successfully appealed the decision. 

Former Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom was an outspoken critic of Australia's treatment of head injuries, warning an NFL-style multi million dollar class action was possible here if rugby in particular did not overhaul its protocols. 

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 3 0 3 0 -96 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Namibia 3 0 3 0 -59 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers