Gaëtant Barlot: “The World Cup is not dead…”
“I relativize. At the time, I was scared. I had temporary quadriplegia. I no longer felt my body. And then it came back.” On April 22, after a few minutes…
“I relativize. At the time, I was scared. I had temporary quadriplegia. I no longer felt my body. And then it came back.” On April 22, after a few minutes of play, Gaëtan Barlot, the hooker from Castres, hit Dany Priso’s hip violentlythe pillar of Toulon. “I had two cervical hernias”says the Tarn player. “On shock, one moved and hit the spinal cord.”
His description sends chills down my spine. Surrounded by his partners and then evacuated on a stretcher, he quickly recovered sensations. On May 11, he was operated on in Toulouse. Her hernias were removed, along with two discs, and then a metal plate was placed to reinforce the area.
“Finally, it was good to have surgery there and not wait for the end of your career. Now I’m doing really well. It’s incredible an operation, everything goes super fast, you don’t feel anything, you don’t hurt. And then I will be able to play rugby again.” When ? We are obviously obliged to ask ourselves the question, and to ask him the question. In a few months, there is the World Cup, and before this shock, the one who has played 24 games this season, all competitions combined, was rather well placed in the hierarchy since number 3, behind Toulouse’s Julien Marchand and Peato Mauvaka.
The race against the clock has started
Gaëtan Barlot, who came into play in the first three matches of the last Six Nations Tournament, has started his time trial and hopes to be able to play in this world tournament. He knows that it will be very hard, that time is against him, and that Pierre Bourgarit, the Rochelais, is today number 3 in the position. “But the World Cup is not dead. There really is hope. But what is certain, and despite what I had, I already miss rugby.
On Wednesday, he will make his big return to the Castres Olympique training center, not to prepare for the Perpignan reception on Sunday (9:05 p.m.) which he will attend, from the stands, of course, but to resume sport, gently, and smell the looks like a locker room. “Aerobics and Cycling”he explains.
Vincent Giaccobi, the performance director of the Tarn club, will manage this return: “He is already positive, and he needs to be. He is eager to find all that is physical preparation. His recovery will take place in stages, the first will not be too restrictive for the upper limbs…” Giacobbi, he does not want to project himself on the month of September and the World Cup. “The most important thing, first of all, is his health. The rest will come later”he concedes.
The staff of the Blues also regularly takes news of this brand new body … “If all goes as planned, I have to resume rugby with contact in mid-July”, specifies Barlot. Before plunging back into the fight, the hooker from Castres will begin rehabilitation in Bordeaux from June 11, with a physiotherapist, Luc Senegas, for muscle strengthening: “He is a spine specialist. A lot of players ask for it.” Reached on the phone, the latter, bound by professional secrecy, did not wish to pour out on his future patient: “But he will be able to play rugby as normal again.”