In rugby, awareness of player concussions

The figures are alarming. According to a study by a team from the University of Glasgow, in October 2022, former rugby players are two and a half times more likely than the general population to develop neurodegenerative diseases. The researchers looked at 412 former Scottish rugby internationals before comparing them to 1,200 people from the general population. They reveal, for example, that the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease is three times higher.

In recent decades, professional rugby has shifted towards a more physical and faster game. Players have gained muscle mass, making shocks particularly violent, and concussions more frequent. But until a few years ago, few people took into account the severity and duration of symptoms. “There has always been this tradition, like in war: if you haven’t had your face torn off by a shell, it’s because you’re fit for combat. Looking more closely, we realize that it is still much more complex »analyzes Jean-François Chermann, neurologist, specialist in France for concussions in athletes.

Changing mindsets

According to this amateur player, rugby is not dangerous, but should be practiced with caution. This requires medical supervision, at all levels, which he helped to put in place. “We voted for the HIA criteria in 2013”, he recalls. These evaluation criteria following a head injury, dubbed “concussion protocol” in France, were developed to “Improve the management of head injuries”especially in cases where “the diagnosis is not immediately apparent”, says World Rugby. In addition to this medical framework, there is a framework for the rules. “There has been a total reform on the entry into the scrum, or on the way of making the keys, for example”, reminds the specialist.

Finally, the doctor notes a precious change in mentalities. “At the time, we had a real underestimation of the troubles, the players did not want to hear about it and participated in this omerta. »

The amateur world must progress

Since then, many cases of players having attacked their clubs in court for negligence have contributed to this increased vigilance by sports authorities. Last case to date, the rugby player Alexandre Lapandry, who suffers from the after-effects of a stroke following shocks. In December 2022, he filed several complaints against ASM Clermont-Auvergne, in particular for endangering the lives of others.

The evolutions of professional rugby must now spread to the amateur world. Today, 50% of concussed athletes, all sports combined, remain on the playing area. In rugby, since the HIA protocols, this figure has fallen from 50% to 18%. Other initiatives are emerging: the neurosurgeon David Brauge has established a protocol, after a concussion, intended for all general practitioners. The idea is to rely on this local network of caregivers accessible to all amateurs in the country.



Zinedine Zidane in five dates, from legendary player to prized coach

Paris Saint-Germain tried to offer his services, in vain. Courted by the biggest clubs after two stints on the Real Madrid bench, Zinedine Zidane only has eyes for the post of coach of the France team – “the most beautiful thing ever”he confided to The Team on the occasion of his 50th birthday, Thursday 23 June.

Since his debut at AS Cannes in 1989, at the age of 15, “Zizou” has made an impression with his technique and his talent. Back in five dates on an extraordinary career crowned with all the successes.

► Noteworthy beginnings

After his first steps in the professional world with AS Cannes, Zinedine Zidane was transferred to the Girondins de Bordeaux in 1992. Quickly noticed by all observers, he distinguished himself on the international scene in 1994 on the occasion of his first selection. in the French team.

For his first match in blue, against the Czech Republic, he comes into play at the 63e minute. France is then led by two goals to nil. Twenty minutes later, Zidane, number 14 on the back, scored two goals in two minutes to save the Blues a defeat. He will become an indisputable starter a year later.

► The consecration of 1998

Four years later, he distinguished himself during the World Cup organized in France. Transferred to Juventus Turin in 1996, “Zizou” entered the history of the competition by scoring two headed goals in the final against Brazil, offering the World Cup to the Blues. That same year, he won the Ballon d’Or awarded by France Football.

In 2000, the French team shone again, this time on the European scene. Zidane, who will be voted best player at the end of the 2000 European championship, displays an exceptional level of play. Decisive in the quarter-finals and then in the semi-finals against Portugal, he opened the doors to the final for France, who won against Italy.

► Victory in the Champions League

Considered one of the best players in the world, Zinedine Zidane arrived at Real Madrid in 2001 for 75 million euros, becoming the most expensive player in the world at the time.

After a lackluster first season, he won the Champions League in 2002. In the final, he scored the winning goal with a volley at the entrance to the penalty area. A goal still considered one of the most beautiful in the history of the competition.

► A disappointing exit

Between 2003 and 2006, Real Madrid went on to disappointing results. After announcing his international retirement in 2004, “Zizou” announces that he will retire in 2006, after a final lap with the French team at the World Cup in Germany.

During the competition, he wears the captain’s armband and sends France to the final of the competition. In the quarter-finals, against Brazil, he delivered one of his finest encounters with the blue jersey. But against Italy in the final, everything collapses. He was sent off in extra time after a header on Italian defender Marco Materazzi. France will lose the match on penalties and the Frenchman ends his career with his head down.

► Real Madrid coach

Ten years after the end of his playing career, the former number 10 of the Blues succeeded Carlo Ancelotti as Real Madrid coach in January 2016. While the club is in great difficulty, Zinedine Zidane wins the Champions League as well as the following two editions of the European competition, becoming the seventh man to win the title as a player and manager.

After three successful years, he resigned from his post. He will return two years later for two seasons, during which he adds a new La Liga title to the Madrid club’s record in 2020.

Asked in recent weeks by PSG to take over from Mauro Pochettino, the Frenchman declines the offer. And is now turning to the position of coach of the France team, occupied until the end of the World Cup in Qatar, in December, by his former teammate Didier Deschamps.