Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Wednesday Dec 9, 2020

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

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

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Experts explain what actually happens...

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Leigh Halfpenny makes yet another...

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Parisse alley-oop magic sets up brilliant...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Beauden Barrett scores 25 points in 20 minutes for Suntory in Japan Top League

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: The Victor Vito offload fans have been raving about in Champions Cup quarter-final

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    MUST WATCH: Awesome compilation of the best tries ever scored at the Millennium Stadium

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Awesome compilation showcases the GREATEST tries ever scored at Twickenham

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: 135kg prop lines up swan dive from 20 metres out... then re-thinks

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: 19-year-old is barely a speed bump for fearsome Fijian number eight

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: South African sevens icon Afrika done for clear cheating on Robshaw MLR debut

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Powerhouse Tongan Thor leaves opposition on his arse with HUGE handoff

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Amazing highlights reel demonstrates why Tadhg Furlong MUST go on the British & Irish Lions tour this Summer

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Tackle deemed to be at the top end of the scale as winger receives heavy ban

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Over $450 million loss for South Africa's economy if the Lions tour happens without fans

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: South African sevens icon Afrika done for clear cheating on Robshaw MLR debut

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Rob Kearney's legendary performance vs Springboks on 2009 Lions tour

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Beauden Barrett scores 25 points in 20 minutes for Suntory in Japan Top League

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Amazing highlights reel demonstrates why Tadhg Furlong MUST go on the British & Irish Lions tour this Summer

View All

Funnies

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Lions coaching staff announcement elicits some amused responses from fans

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Comedy gold as Toronto lock attempts clearance kick in MLR match featuring Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: 135kg prop lines up swan dive from 20 metres out... then re-thinks

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bizarre standoff in Super Rugby tests players on their rulebook knowledge

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Flanker has HOWLER in Super Rugby Aotearoa after butchering awesome solo try

View All

Amateur

  • 23 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 60 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 61 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 61 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 61 WEEKS AGO

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

View All

Player Features

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 13 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 14 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 20 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 20 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

View All
Traumatic brain injury expert not surprised at planned legal action following shocking player revelations | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos