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Wednesday Dec 9, 2020

Fuimaono-Sapolu shares old tweets calling out World Rugby on CTE

Former Samoa, Bath and Gloucester centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu has retweeted previous posts he shared in 2017 accusing World Rugby of covering up “the horrible effects of CTE brain injury”. 

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This comes after it was revealed this week that a group of former internationals, which includes England’s Steve Thompson and Michael Lipman, and Wales’ Alix Popham, are planning legal action for negligence against the rugby authorities over brain injuries they have suffered. 

Fuimaono-Sapolu retweeted two posts he made about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain condition that is thought to be a result of repeated blows to the head. 

The 40-year-old shared a Tweet from October 2017, where he said “I stopped rugby to protect whatever brain cells I have left. World Rugby have covered up the horrible effects of CTE brain injury.” 

He also posted another Tweet from February 2018, where he urged parents to “read about this neurodegenerative [CTE] disease before enrolling your child in rugby”. 

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Thompson, 42, Popham, 41, and Lipman, 40, are all suffering from early onset dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy, with the former hooker Thompson revealing he has no recollection of winning the World Cup with England in 2003. 

Richard Boardman, the lawyer representing the group of players in their case against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union, has said that rugby faces a dementia epidemic amongst retired professionals without changes to the game. 

Throughout his career, Fuimaono-Sapolu was not afraid to confront World Rugby, particularly during the 2011 World Cup regarding the treatment of Samoa, but in light of this legal action against World Rugby, he may have been ahead of the curve.

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