Search icon


05th Mar 2017

One look at this shows just how urgently rugby’s concussion laws need to be changed

His legs had gone

Patrick McCarry

If a player can pass a Head Injury Assessment after this impact and this footage, the rules of the game need changing.

11 minutes into Toulouse’s Top 14 game against La Rochelle, winger Alexis Palisson set himself to take down flying Fijian Levani Botia.

He set himself low but got mulched, and was hammered back into the turf.

Palisson is no mug. He may have given up three stone and a couple of inches to Botia but he is a sturdy enough, international standard back. He is a typical rugby player, too, and he bounced back up to rejoin the defensive line.

The only problem was, his legs were gone.

The pictures are truly shocking and it should have been enough to see Palisson withdrawn from the fray.

Instead, he went off for a HIA after 13 minutes. He returned after 20 minutes so passed the assessment. Somehow. Somehow he was able to pass a series of cognitive, memory and balance tests.

He must have satisfied the medical staff – despite glaring evidence that suggested otherwise – that he was doing fine after being what many rugby players euphemistically describe as being ‘buzzed’.

This is not the first time Toulouse have come under the microscope for sending an injured player back out onto the field of player after he looked clearly concussed. Back in 2014, centre Florian Fritz took an accidental knee to the head, was cut open and clearly staggering, yet returned to the field of play.

Toulouse were in the dock for these antics and we thought rugby had moved beyond this.

And then today happened…

Enough is enough. World Rugby need to wake up NOW and sort out a firm set of concussion guidelines once and for all.