Title: Over 200 Players Sue Rugby Governing Bodies Over Repeated Head Injuries
More than 200 rugby players, including a number of England and Wales rugby union internationals, have filed a lawsuit against the Rugby Football Union (RFU), World Rugby, and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), claiming long-term effects of repetitive head injuries. The class action includes former England hooker Steve Thompson and Michael Lipman, among others, and a hearing on December 1 will determine the test cases for the legal proceedings.
The claim, which involves 55 players from England, 77 from Wales, eight from Scotland, and five from Ireland, is based on extensive medical records detailing brain injuries submitted by the players’ lawyers. Richard Boardman, the players’ attorney, argues that there has been a systematic failure by the rugby governing bodies to protect players from concussions and subconcussions.
Subconcussions, which are smaller knocks to the head, can occur over 60 times in a single game for a flanker and happen even more frequently during training. The players’ lawyers insist that immediate and substantial changes are necessary to prevent future generations from suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and other neurological impairments.
While the rugby authorities have expressed sadness upon hearing the players’ stories and have stated that player welfare is their top priority, they are yet to submit their defenses. Unfortunately, the lack of full details provided by the players’ lawyers about the claims hampers the authorities from commenting further or reaching out to the players directly.
This lawsuit adds to a series of high court claims involving professional football and rugby league players, all overseen by Judge Jeremy Cook of the King’s Bench division. The players’ attorney warns that without immediate and substantial changes, the long-term health of rugby players and even future generations will be at risk, making it vital for the governing bodies to take action.
As the legal process commences, the rugby community awaits the outcome of the hearing on December 1 to determine the players who will proceed as test cases. In the face of mounting evidence and increasing awareness of the potential risks associated with head injuries in rugby, the sport’s governing bodies will need to address this issue to ensure the safety and well-being of their players.