After Jamie Cudmore and Alexandre Lapandry, the former French international second line Sébastien Vahaamahina, forced to end his career after another concussion, is the third player from Clermont to blame the Auvergne club for not assuming its responsibilities.
During the week, the ASM and the ex-Blue (31 years old, 46 selections) received a letter from the French Rugby Federation (FFR) informing them that it was withdrawing his player’s license.
Clearly, career over for the former Brive and Perpignan who has not played since December 10 and a match against the South African franchise of the Stormers (24-14), in the Champions Cup, where he suffered a broken nose and a concussion.
“In six years, this is the tenth (concussion, editor’s note) listed. There have been others but they have apparently not been recorded in my medical file”, he confided in an interview with L’Equipe published on Saturday.
“I have increasingly strong symptoms after each concussion, with an impact on my life as a professional rugby player but also on my private life”, continued the player, referring to “headaches”, “dizziness” and his “tiredness”.
“A week after (his injury),” he told L’Equipe, “I wanted to come to the stadium driving alone. Result: I fell asleep in the parking lot when I arrived, so exhausted was I. ‘having driven not even fifteen minutes’.
After two operations, Vahaamahina, at the club since 2014, has “returned to an almost normal life” but continues to live with “a sharp sword above his head”.
Vahaamahina is particularly upset against his club, which he points to the lack of consideration.
“I understood that the ASM surely had other things to do than take care of its old soldiers,” he added.
From now on, the second line expects Clermont leaders to recognize “their responsibilities” and honor “their contractual commitments”.
“The club continues to buy time and hope that I give up. I thought I deserved more respect. I am disappointed and hurt,” assured Vahaamahina, who is “ashamed” for Clermont and for those responsible, who ” ruined everything”.
Vahaamahina has therefore added his name to the growing list of players who denounce the failings of the authorities, such as former All Blacks pillar Carl Hayman or former Rose XV hooker Steve Thompson.
The New Zealander and the Englishman, both passed through the Top 14, are part of a group of about fifteen players who, in November, filed a legal action against the authorities of French rugby for breach of their security and information obligations. They are more than 200 to accuse World Rugby, as well as the English and Welsh federations, of not having sufficiently protected them against concussions.
“A player and a club in the dark”
Vahaamahina is also the third Clermont resident to denounce the attitude of the Auvergne club, after second line Jamie Cudmore and third line Alexandre Lapandry, who filed a complaint against the club for “endangering the lives of others”.
Contacted by AFP, the ASM did not wish to react.
At the end of the Top 14 match won against Stade Français (32-16), Clermont coach Christophe Urios wondered about the timing of this interview: “Since my arrival at the end of December, there has been no a lot of info like this. So you get used to it! (…) There is still a surprising side to all of this, “he said, without wanting to say more.
The players, like Arthur Iturria, especially had a thought for their teammate forced to put an end to his career: “He is a competitor, a boy who loves to play rugby and it is complicated for us not to have him by our side”. “Now it’s always tricky these stories of concussion, and I see a player and a club who are in the dark, which is never fun,” he admitted.