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Virimi Vakatawa can't play in France, on medical grounds

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Virimi Vakatawa can't play in France, on medical grounds Empty Virimi Vakatawa can't play in France, on medical grounds

Post by Rugby Fan Tue 06 Sep 2022, 12:01 am

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2022/09/05/french-rugby-rocked-virimi-vakatawa-stood-mysterious-circumstances/

French rugby has been rocked by the news that Racing 92's star centre, Virimi Vakatawa, has had his professional career ended by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby's medical committee in mysterious circumstances.

New Zealand-born Vakatawa, 30, who won 31 caps for France after arriving in the country in 2010, has not revealed the nature of the injury but his Parisian club issued the following statement on Monday: "Racing 92 gives its full support to Virimi Vakatawa and has immediately put in place arrangements to support an emblematic player as best as possible in these particularly difficult times."

Despite losing his place in the France XV, Vakatawa started for a much-changed Les Bleus in July in the two-Test series against Japan and featured in the French-heavy Barbarians' victory over England at Twickenham in June. The centre was left out of Racing 92's squad for their season opener, a victory over Castres last Saturday.

Whether or not Vakatawa will be able to continue his career overseas remains to be seen, but there is precedent in this area. Juan Figallo, the Argentina prop, signed for Saracens after a neck injury meant he was forced by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby to leave Montpellier. In that instance, Figallo's injury was classed as a 'G3' neck injury – a 'G2' would have meant he could have continued his career in France. Christopher Tolofua, the Toulon hooker who spent two seasons at Saracens, was forced to have surgery on a 'G3' neck injury in order to continue his career across the Channel while Peni Ravai, the Fijian prop, was forced to leave Clermont at the end of last season under similar circumstances.

A 'G3' classification is the most severe on the Fédération française de rugby (FFR) scale, and results in a complete ban from rugby in France according to FFR regulations. In England, however, this is not the case.

Racing 92 will hold a press conference at midday local time on Tuesday to provide further clarity.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 06 Sep 2022, 8:11 am

It seems an odd ruling that an injury that could be treated means that clubs can effectively medically retire you, only for somewhere else to pick up the bill and back you come! Obviously don't know the details on Vakatawa yet but my mind doesn't immediately think that the French are generally overly concerned with player welfare.

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Post by Geordie Tue 06 Sep 2022, 8:23 am

Not being in the medical trade, is this the French being OTT on player health, or being correct and we arent being strict enough on medical help...

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 06 Sep 2022, 12:13 pm

He has a heart condition. He won't be playing again.

Galthie was moved to tears when speaking about it.

https://twitter.com/antoinellorca/status/1567106796614975490

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Post by lostinwales Tue 06 Sep 2022, 12:35 pm

Bad for rugby but good that they found the problem now.

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 06 Sep 2022, 12:55 pm

It was odd news when i first seen it, but they didn't dislcose the reason at the time.

Cornal Hendricks had previsouly retired because of a heart condition. Jake White and the Bulls found a company who would insure him so they could get him back playing, but I believe that is the main reason why the Springboks will no longer select him.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 06 Sep 2022, 1:39 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/62800194

The BBC story makes it sound as though the governing body forced the club into the decision, and they specifically say he can't play in France...so he might try and restart his career somewhere else?

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 06 Sep 2022, 5:53 pm

If a player is at heightened risk of heart attack, stroke, etc., why would any club want to play him? I understand the player's pov: He is a top level athlete, feels fine, performs fine, all things seemingly on the up. But it is playing real life Russian Roulette. Good on the LNR to draw a line in the sand regarding a player's health.

Last autumn in one of our club matches a player on the opposing team suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the middle of the game. 25 minutes of CPR at the pitch and he was lucky he made it. He was a hair's breadth away. https://montclairlocal.news/28-year-old-montclair-rugby-team-player-collapsed-on-field-medical-bills-are-mounting/

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 06 Sep 2022, 7:06 pm

I am no doctor but this sounds a bit like the Christian Eriksen situation from football.

After he had the cardiac event during Denmarks match at Euro 2021 he tried to come back for his club in Italy but was told he was not allowed to play any sport by the Italian medical authorities.

He moved to England initially with Brentford and now Manchester United and is able to play with no restrictions.

Could this be similar?

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Post by BigGee Thu 08 Sep 2022, 9:20 am

Erikson has a defibrilator implanted to deal with any more life threatening dysrhythmias he might have. There is an Italian cyclist, who won Paris-Roubaix and then collapsed at the end of a race early this year and had to be resuscitated. He also had a defibrator implanted when they discovered the cause.

This disqualifies them from professional sport in Italy as it is seeen as to big a risk, to themselves and to others. I imagine in France the same rules apply.

They generally take a firmer line about medicine and sport in both those countries. This summer I did a cycling sportive in italy and as part of the entry requirement, you need to have a medical certificate to say you are fit enough to participate. It is the same in France for any endurance cycling or running event, no matter what level.

I would say it is a bit of a nonsense, as I got an internet one, without ever seeing a doctor and no one gives it more than a cursory look at when you register. It would be very easy to forge one but obviously as a professional sportsperson, you would not be able to get one, or the required insurance if you had a known dangerous diagnosis.

The rules in the UK are not as strict across the board, but even so, you would imagine that Erikson's insurers will have gone through the medical what ifs with a very fine tooth comb.

The spurs player that collapsed on the pitch a few years back was never able to play again, despite also making a good recovery and seeming to be in good health after the event.

Without knowing the specifics of the medical incident, it is really hard to make a judgement.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 08 Sep 2022, 6:12 pm

I agree, it is very hard to judge without knowing more. But fundamentally, if someone has an ICD that means they already have a problem and no amount of electric shocks can fix that. And in many cases the risk can't be quantified accurately enough, or at all. I guess that is behind the French and Italian approach. And in the absence of more information, that seems like a good conservative approach.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 09 Sep 2022, 9:31 am

The reports do hint at the fact he may jump to another league.

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