Former France international Sebastian Bahamahina said Saturday he was forced to retire due to a concussion, accusing top-14 club Clermont of failing to acknowledge responsibility for his condition.
The 31-year-old said he suffered from recurring episodes of chronic fatigue and headaches, and expressed anger over how he was fired.
The veteran rock forward said, “I am ashamed of my club for this sacking of incompetence.” I said I made it.”
Vahamahina joined Clermont from Perpignan in 2014 and made 154 appearances for the club.
However, he has not played since December 2022 and underwent two surgeries while waiting for a financial settlement from the club.
“It’s been five months and you have given me a decent and clear proposal to properly end the talks with the club,” he told sports daily L’Equipe.
“Each time I have had a concussion, the symptoms have increased and it has affected not only my life as a professional rugby player, but also my personal life.”
Two former Clermont players, Jamie Cudmore and Alexandre Lapandry, who retired due to incompetence, also sued the club for damages.
“The club has been playing for a while and wants me to give up.
He joins a list of players who have blamed the game’s rulers for their failures over concussions, including former All Blacks prop Karl Heyman and former England hooker Steve Thompson.
They both spent time in the top 14 and are part of a group of about 15 players who filed a lawsuit against French rugby officials for breaching safety last November.
About 200 players have accused World Rugby, the England and Wales federations, of not doing enough to protect players from concussions.
When contacted by AFP, Clermont declined to comment on Vahhamahina’s allegations.
After a 32-16 win over Stade Français late on Saturday, Clermont coach Christophe Urios asked about the timing of the interview.
“There’s been a lot of information like this since I arrived at the end of December, so get used to it,” he said.
“There’s still a surprising side to all of this.”
The Clermont player Arthur Ituria sympathized with Vahamahina.
“He’s a player, a boy who loves rugby, and it’s complicated not to have him on our side,” said fellow Second Row.
“Those concussion stories are always tricky. I see players and clubs in the dark. It’s never fun.”