Goalkeeper Cléopâtre Darleux, Olympic champion in 2021 with the French handball team, played again on Friday with her club Brest after almost 13 months without playing due to a concussion. Darleux, aged 34, entered the game, receiving a standing ovation from the public before the Brest supporters sang a song in her honor, in the 44th minute of the match on the 18th day of the Women’s League won against Mérignac (37- 30) at the Brest Arena. She played the last 16 minutes.

“I think it did her good, she was the one who suffered the most. (On the ovation and the song sung by the supporters in her honor) It is a very nice tribute for a goalkeeper who has given a lot and who gives a lot to the club. It must have warmed her heart, and I am happy to find a high-level player,” Breton coach Pablo Morel declared on HandballTV.

The goalkeeper was in the group selected for this meeting for the first time since her concussion after receiving a ball in the head on February 11, 2023 against Kristiansand (Norway) in the Champions League. Darleux, also world champion in 2017 with Les Bleues, returned to 100% training at the end of February.

She explained to AFP at that time that her injury was progressing “better and better” thanks to a protocol followed with neurologist Jean-François Chermann, based on an experimental treatment “called photobiomodulation including a helmet diffusing different lights, including infrared. In November, she revealed that she was still suffering from “headaches”, explaining that she could not train daily and that she had to limit herself to “cardio” exercises.

Darleux is engaged in a race against the clock to compete in the Olympic Games, while in her absence the French team became world champions in December. Brest is currently at the top of the Women’s League and qualified for the play-offs to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.