A Moncton football game that sent nine players to the hospital after they suffered potential concussions was played within the rules, the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association says.
However, a school district superintendent and a head of Coach NB say they think the coach of the École L'Odyssée Olympiens made the right call in withdrawing his team from the game.
Last Friday, a game between École L'Odyssée Olympiens and Sackville's Tantramar Titans ended at halftime after Olympiens' coach Marcel Metti said several of his players suffered head injuries.
A statement written by NBIAA president Andy Clark this week says the game was halted because several École L'Odyssée players were injured during the first half of the game, and there weren't enough linemen left to continue playing.
Within rules of the game
Four players suffered body injuries, four were diagnosed with concussion, and four displayed concussion symptoms during the first half of the game, Clark wrote, though he did not specify which team the players were on.
"These players were not permitted to play in the second half due to safety reasons," Clark said.
"Due to this lack of available players, the ['Odyssée Olympiens] coaches decided in the interest of safety to not continue the game as playing younger, smaller players in the line would be dangerous as they were not properly prepared to play those positions."
Nine players went to hospital to be checked out.
Football officials reviewed game footage and found it was played within the rules, Clark said in the statement.
The coach of the Titans told CBC last Sunday he believed his players were adhering to the rules of the game and not overly rough.
Monique Boudreau, the Francophone South School District superintendent, said she believed the coach of the Olympiens made a good judgment call.
If he had chosen to continue, he would have risked having younger players, who were less experienced, being injured as well, she said.
"It was a big decision to be made, with lots of pressure on him, but he put the health of students before a game," she said.
"For me, it's the most important thing that a coach could do."
Concussion protocol in effect
The incident happened shortly after the district introduced a new concussion protocol, which requires that students have a doctor's note before being allowed to participate in recreational sports after suffering a concussion.
'Our brain, we can't play with that.' - Monique Boudreau
Boudreau couldn't say whether the new protocol had anything to do with what happened last Friday but said she thinks it definitely has made staff, parents, and students more aware of the seriousness of head injuries.
"We are more conscious of what can happen long term, and I think it has definitely awakened people that this is something we need to take seriously," she said.
"Our brain, we can't play with that."
Manon Ouellette, the executive director of Coach NB, also said she thought the coach made the right call.
"I think that the safety of the athletes comes first," she said.
"So if his judgment was that way, then he had his athletes in the top priority."