For Jamie Cudmore concussion is a personal issue. And that really came across during his interview on Off The Ball this evening.
In April 2015 Jamie Cudmore was playing in a Champions Cup game for Clermont against Saracens in the Champions Cup when he suffered a heavy knock and failed the 'Head Injury Assessment' that is outlined under World Rugby regulations, yet was allowed to return onto the field of play. A couple of weeks later Cudmore played in the Champions Cup final against Toulon at Twickenham and was knocked out in the game's opening moments. Again he came on and was then substituted late in the game, vomiting in the changing rooms after being taken off.
Cudmore has since spoken of his disgust at the French club's lax attitude to his injury and it appeared late last year that he was preparing to take legal action against Clermont. Appearing on Off The Ball this evening, he said that he was not in the process of suing the French club but told presenter Joe Molloy of the club's incredibly hostile reaction to his concern at how his injury was treated.
Cudmore said that the doctors involved in treating him subsequently altered his story, to read that he did in fact pass the Head Injury Assessment during the game against Saracens and that the reason he was vomiting was because of "the over-excitement of the final."
Cudmore said he drafted a letter with his lawyer, stating the facts of what happened over those two April weeks and asking Clermont to assure him that in future the World Rugby rules would be adhered to; that no other player would have to go through the same treatment that he had been through and that players would in future be taken off the pitch if in a similar condition.
And what, Cudmore was asked, was Clermont's response to his letter?
Jamie Cudmore: The response was, 'How dare you send this letter to us? It's like you're...'
Joe Molloy: Betraying?
JC: Betraying the club, exactly. 'How dare you send this letter to us, it's like you're ambushing us.' And this is me, by myself, with the general manager, the assistant manager, the coach and the two doctors in a room, and basically everyone took a turn tearing a strip off me.
The two doctors said that I was lying, the coach and the general manager re-iterated that I am betraying the club by attacking them like this.
I said, 'Listen, guys. I'm not attacking anybody. What I am doing here is I'm putting a line in the sand, saying: this is what happened. I'm not happy with it. And I just want you guys to assure me that it's not going to happen again.'
All I got (in response) was anger, disbelief that I would even have the gall to bring something like that up. And especially in the form of a letter.
And Cudmore detailed the hurt he had felt at Clermont's treatment after spending so long at the club (he joined in 2005 and left last year).
My wife and I were beside ourselves with that treatment, especially after battling for that club for eleven years - and for me to be treated like that and basically kicked out of the back door afterwards...it's very disappointing to finish eleven years in a club and it goes sour like it did.
For a club to be as careless as Clermont appeared to be in Cudmore's instance is fairly disgraceful but for them to react with the hostility that Cudmore described is different altogether.
Cudmore, who has set up a charity called the 'Rugby Safety Network' to try and raise awareness and improve the treatment of the issue of concussion within rugby, spoke eloquently about the issue - and was, of course, asked about his scrap with Paul O'Connell back in 2008. You can listen to the full interview via the Newstalk website here.