ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Thursday Dec 17, 2020

As World Rugby respond, here is a closer look at the whole concussion case situation

Players suffering from concussion-related health problems, including retired England and Wales rugby union internationals, have formally launched legal action against the game.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main issues.

What is the background?

A test group of nine former rugby union players are taking action against the sport’s governing body World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and Welsh Rugby Union. The players say those organisations failed to protect them from the risks caused by concussions.

One of the players has been diagnosed with having brain injuries and post-concussion symptoms, while the other eight have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, early onset dementia and probable CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).

Who are the players involved?

England World Cup winner Steve Thompson is the biggest name. The 42-year-old won 73 caps during an 11-year international career, but he says he has no recollection of England being crowned world champions in 2003.

Joining Thompson in the legal fight are 40-year-old former Bath and England flanker Michael Lipman, ex-Wales international Alix Popham (41), 30-year-old ex-Dragons centre Adam Hughes, whose career was ended by a brain injury in 2018, and 44-year-old Neil Spence, an England Under-20 international. Four players have requested privacy at this point.

Is it the tip of the iceberg?

Potentially, yes. The players’ law firm Rylands Law alleges that the risks of concussions and sub-concussive injuries were “known and foreseeable” and lists 24 failures on the part of World Rugby, the RFU and WRU.

Richard Boardman, of Rylands Law, says that since last week’s announcement about the impending legal action, a further 30 former rugby union players have contacted his firm. Boardman is already representing more than 100 former professional rugby union players in their 20s to 50s, many of whom are showing symptoms associated with neurological complications.

What do the players want done?

In addition to legal action, the players have created a set of 15 commandments that calls upon World Rugby and governing bodies to implement them as a matter of urgency in order to make immediate safety improvements to the sport.

The commandments include an acknowledgement that playing professional rugby can lead to CTE and other neurodegenerative diseases; limiting the number of contact sessions in training; better sideline testing; and a more considerate approach to the use of substitutions. Longer term, the players want World Rugby to establish a central database chronicling injury history to provide better after-care for retired players.

What are professional rugby’s current rules?

Considerable strides have been made in recent years. Any player who is concussed or has suspected concussion during a game must be taken off and cannot return.

If the situation is unclear, then an off-field head injury assessment (HIA) is undertaken. This became law five years ago, and a player will either be allowed to rejoin the game after an HIA, or removed, depending on test results. Any concussed player must follow and pass strict, phased return-to-play protocols following a concussion before they can play again.

What happens next?

A pre-action letter of claim has been delivered to World Rugby, the RFU and WRU on behalf of the players by Rylands Law, stating it is the defendants’ ongoing duty to safeguard and promote the development of the sport, having regard to the safety and best interests of the players.

ADVERTISEMENT

The letter sets out broad allegations upon which the players’ claims are based. Rylands Law lists 24 failures on the part of World Rugby, RFU and WRU. The governing bodies have a maximum of three months from the date of acknowledgement of the letter of claim to provide their initial responses.

What has been the response?

In a joint statement, World Rugby, the RFU and WRU confirmed receipt of the letter.

They added: “We have been deeply saddened to hear the brave personal accounts from former players. Rugby is a contact sport and while there is an element of risk to playing any sport, rugby takes player welfare extremely seriously and it continues to be our number one priority.

“As a result of scientific knowledge improving, rugby has developed its approach to concussion surveillance, education, management and prevention across the whole game.”

RELATED VIEWING:

ADVERTISEMENT
Video Spacer

Related Articles

  • 32 WEEKS AGO

    Exeter vs Toulouse is off as a number of...

  • 32 WEEKS AGO

    Danny Cipriani leaves Gloucester with immediate...

  • 32 WEEKS AGO

    'Aphiwe can’t believe it. We were starting...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    No other player has mastered intercepts like Bryan Habana could

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: French flair lights up Brisbane with EPIC coast-to-coast try

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Watch how Marcus Smith lit up Twickenham on England debut vs USA

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Extended highlights show why Josh Adams could be a Lions Test starter

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Aphelele Fassi: The debut Springbok that could change Warren Gatland's Lions selection

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    The controversial Watson tackle which escaped any card vs Springboks

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Lewis Ludlow received a four match ban for this knee to the face

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Controversial Marika Koroibete red card not upheld

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Wallabies will contest controversial red card after French player 'milked it'

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Wallabies fans raging after questionable early red card for Marika Koroibete

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 9 HOURS AGO

    Rugby Australia condemn Erasmus public 'attack', back their referee

  • 1 DAY AGO

    RWC winning coach launches unbelievable one hour rant at officials

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    New Rassie video targets foul play, confirming fake twitter account was his

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Critics hit out at Rassie Erasmus for fake twitter and 'comical' behaviour

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Awesome Daly kicking montage shows just how deadly his left boot really is

View All

Funnies

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Unimpressed Vunipola loses patience with Cheslin Kolbe in Cape Town

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    New compilation of rare Nigel Owens footage is comedy gold

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    The moment Ellis Genge soaks Ugo Monye live on TV is simply priceless

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Inside the Quins changing rooms after winning AWESOME Prem final

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    'I don't know what I'm saying!', Joe Marler's brilliant interview after EPIC Prem win

View All

Amateur

  • 38 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 75 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    A deeper look at Jason Robinson's incredible path to the top

  • 22 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bumping off tacklers and taking high balls, Rob Kearney had an impressive Super Rugby debut

  • 28 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 29 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 35 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

View All