ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Wednesday Dec 9, 2020

Traumatic brain injury expert not surprised at planned legal action following shocking player revelations

Traumatic brain injury expert Dr Willie Stewart believes it was “only a matter of time” before former rugby players with concussion-related issues considered legal action.

ADVERTISEMENT

A group of former internationals, including England World Cup winner Steve Thompson, are planning legal action for negligence against the rugby authorities over brain injuries they have suffered.

The ‘test group’ for a potentially much larger action also includes another former England player, Michael Lipman, and ex-Wales international Alix Popham, according to Rylands Law.

The planned action is against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union, for “failure to protect (the claimants) from the risks caused by concussions”.

Dr Stewart led the FIELD study research, commissioned by the Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association, which revealed last year that footballers were three-and-a-half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative disease than age-matched members of the general population.

“As we’ve learnt more about concussion and head injuries in sport, and the consequences of it, then I think it was only a matter of time before former players experiencing concussion problems sought some sort of legal status as to what is going on,” he told the PA news agency.

“Prevention is better than any cure. In terms of rugby, although they’ve made great strides in attempting to identify brain injuries on the park, the number of brain injuries in rugby is still phenomenally high.

ADVERTISEMENT

“In terms of the number of brain injuries and concussions identified, it is only a fraction of the number that are actually occurring.

“And then there is the problem of head impacts themselves, never mind concussions. Cumulative exposure to head impacts, we believe, is just as much a risk as a handful of concussions.”

RELATED VIEWING:

ADVERTISEMENT

Thompson, 42, cannot remember winning the World Cup with England in 2003 and says he wished he had never turned professional, while 40-year-old Lipman described himself as “a walking time bomb”.

Dr Stewart, a consultant neuropathologist who is also a clinical associate professor at the University of Glasgow, added: “Rugby should be thinking about immediate measures to try and deal with this.

“Whether it is rugby, whether it is football, any of these sports where the head is impacted frequently and regularly, have to be asking questions about whether it is sustainable to carry on like that.

“Or, are we going to see this scenario of problems over the next decade, or even longer. The reason that things are so slow to change is because the exposure and the outcome are 30-40 years apart.

“Players being concussed and injured nowadays, it will be 40 years before we are starting to talk about them and the damage that has been done.

“Sport is not necessarily acting quickly because they don’t see the immediate effects of this, except now with players coming forward with lingering concussion issues, chronic headaches etc, they may be forced to act quicker.”

World Rugby told BBC Sport: “While not commenting on speculation, World Rugby takes player safety very seriously and implements injury-prevention strategies based on the latest available knowledge, research and evidence.”

The WRU told PA that, as it has had “no direct communication on the subject”, it would “just like to support the World Rugby comment”, while the RFU has also been contacted for comment.

Related Articles

  • 26 WEEKS AGO

    Crazy scenes as player deliberately kicks...

  • 27 WEEKS AGO

    Jokester has field day with Chris Latham's...

  • 28 WEEKS AGO

    Eddie Jones goes off on fan in shocking new...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Quick Thinking Etzebeth Scores Thrilling Try To Keep Sharks Alive In London

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Carlin Isles scores cracking tries in return to sevens rugby

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Chaotic try in classic footage shows just how unpredictable a rugby ball can be

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Jamie George Proves To Be The Ultimate Footballer In Sarries Win

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Lyon Loosehead Hamza Kaabeche Caught In Prop’s Worst Nightmare

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 0 HOUR AGO

    Leicester Tigers And Springbok Number Eight In Hot Water For Sickening Ankle Roll

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Controversy Brewing Following Lack Of TMO intervention In ‘Dangerous’ Toulouse Tackle

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Toulouse demonstrate power with spine tingling hits

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Ugly Club Rugby Incident Caught On Camera

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    The Rarest Of Sights As Tuilagi Left Flattened By Giant Toulouse Secondrow

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Almost 35,000 have now signed petition to reverse new grassroots tackle laws

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    RFU introduce maximum of waist high tackling in amateur rugby

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Big players omitted in Borthwick's new squad and Jones finds a new job - The fallout

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Chaotic try in classic footage shows just how unpredictable a rugby ball can be

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Stormers finish off magical tries in the URC

View All

Funnies

  • 0 HOUR AGO

    Australian Broadcasters Slammed For ‘Pathetic’ Attack On International Referee

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    “I’m Too Old” Referee Substituted In Bizarre Incident

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Bad day for referee Adam Leal as he takes a battering and then gets called by the wrong name

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Tommy Bowe with almighty blunder

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Wild Acrobatics On Show As Toulouse Thump Clermont

View All

Amateur

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 26 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 26 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 26 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Josh Bassett signs for new premiership team after short stay at Harlequins

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Exeter fly half to depart for France

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Former England player switches to Scotland

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Exeter Chiefs to lose yet another player

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Big players omitted in Borthwick's new squad and Jones finds a new job - The fallout

View All