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Florian Fritz

Battered Florian Fritz being led off the field, only to return

French rugby powerbrokers have confirmed no decision will be taken on the Florian Fritz concussion saga until the LNR Executive Committee meets in early September – some four months after the Toulouse centre was led bloodied and reeling from the Stade Ernest Wallon pitch.

In the wake of the incident during the club’s Top 14 barrage against Racing Mètro on May 9, the player’s ill-advised return to the game and the apparent misconduct of head coach Guy Novès are the subject of an investigation from a panel of doctors assembled by the LNR.

Repeated attempts from the IRB – who requested the French bodies launch the investigation – to press both the FFR and LNR for answers proved fruitless until Tuesday (yesterday), when a spokeswoman for the professional league administrators confirmed no action will be taken until after the September meeting.


Though this appears an extraordinary length of time to establish the facts and, where necessary, mete out punishment, the spokeswoman explained that the LNR has no specific legislation to follow after such an event, as it does, for instance, following an illegal tackle, adding that “a lot of people are still on holiday”.

“It’s not an investigation – we call this an assessment,” said the spokeswoman, who could not confirm whether Fritz underwent any form of concussion evaluation while off the field.

“The executive committee will meet on September 9th, and information from the assessment will be given during this meeting. The first people that will be informed of the outcome are the executive committee.”

“What happened is beyond any rules that we have – that’s why there is an assessment. It doesn’t correspond to anything in our rules. We have rules for concussion, but there are so many questions to answer in this case.”

The spokeswoman added that all domestic professional doctors must attend mandatory concussion refresher courses ahead of the new season, or risk being replaced by an independent counterpart at the cost of their club.

“Concussion is not something that is new to us – it has been an important matter for us for many years.”

“We held a press conference three years ago to announce our concussion protocols – only four journalists attended.”

“On July 10th, all the doctors from the Top 14 and Pro D2 were invited for mandatory further concussion training at the FFR headquarters to refresh their knowledge. Coaches and physiotherapists will also be given training. Not all doctors were able to attend, so there will be another session at the end of September.”

“If, for any reason, a club doctor does not attend either meeting, the LNR will appoint an independent doctor for the club’s home games and bill the club for the cost.”

“During the knockout stages of both competitions, where club doctors are under more pressure, we will automatically appoint independent doctors – they will be responsible.”

While acknowledging the propensity for players to attempt to hide or mask concussion symptoms to avoid a spell on the sidelines, the spokeswoman confirmed transparency will be encouraged among the French elite in line with the IRB’s commitment to driving cultural change.

4 Responses to French Rugby: Florian Fritz concussion saga still not resolved

  • 1

    We brought the news of this soon after it happened (way back in May) along with shocking video footage of the situation that Fritz was in so it is UNACCEPTABLE that it appears that this has still not been dealt with. If the IRB really wanted to prove that they were serious about cleaning rugby’s act up regarding concussion then they should have been tougher from the outset with this one which came about at a time when attention has been increasing on concussion – done their investigations and come down really hard on any wrong doing on Toulouse part – make them an ‘example case’ to set the precedent for future tough action on concussion.

  • 2

    Player welfare is of the utmost importance. The people responsible should be sanctioned with the maximum penalties available to the French rugby authorities. Rugby is not a contact sport, but a high speed collision sport (sorry Mr Meyer, but I added my extra bit). As such, the welfare of players should be first and foremost in the minds of players and medical staff.

  • 3

    2 @ Lion4ever:
    Absolutely agree with you Lion4ever and have been on a crusade in particular about concussion for a while now, doing my bit to highlight some issues by placing articles here. I really thought that this Toulouse case was a good one for the IRB to show that they mean business and their protocols are not merely them show boating, the fact that the structures seem to allow the French rugby lot to deal with this how and when they please is a major concern, I would suggest the IRB go as far as to say sort it out now or else face some form of sanctions. Until those involved feel real pain e.g. potentially been thrown out for periods of time I don’t think they will really be bothered, there is so much money floating about in French rugby that fines in my opinion would easily be paid as be nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

  • 4

    @ Bullscot:
    @ Lion4ever:
    Should be coaches, not players.
    Bullscot, the big problem is that Toulouse is one of the money clubs in France. If it had been an Oyannax or Brive, the French would have come down a lot harder on them.


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