DAN JAMES appeared to be KO'd but Wales' dreams of reaching Euro 2020 were kept alive by Gareth Bale.
The Manchester United winger needed three minutes of treatment after a sickening 14th minute clash with Domagoj Vida when the Croatia defender's knee caught his head.
Dazed James got the green light to continue from the Welsh medical team but the heavy collision sparked a concussion row.
Ryan Mason, whose career was cut short by a horrific head injury, tweeted: "Daniel James was just knocked out unconscious! Yet 3 minutes later he has been allowed back onto the pitch" followed by a man shrugging emoji.
This bruising showdown in Cardiff also saw Ethan Ampadu forced off after Bruno Petkovic barged the midfielder in the back but both Croatian players were only yellow carded for their nasty challenges.
Nikola Vlasic fired the Group E leaders, who ahead before Bale rescued a point with his 33rd goal for Wales.
Ryan Giggs' side stay fourth and have eight points from six games but can still reach the finals if they beat Azerbaijan and Hungary in November and the Croats beat Slovakia.
Despite the promising 1-1 draw in Slovakia last Thursday, Wales fell behind to ex-Everton forward Vlasic's ninth-minute finish.
Josip Brekalos skinned Tom Lockyer and Vlasic saw his effort from the edge of the penalty box beat Wayne Hennessey via the aid of the post.
But Wales rallied and were level on the stroke of half-time in controversial circumstances.
Ben Davies, winning his 50th international cap, won the ball but also fouled Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic but Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers waved play on.
The Tottenham left-back found Bale, who took two touches to beat Dejan Lovren before slotting past Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic.