World Rugby, the RFU and WRU face a challenging future. Eight former players are launching a legal action based upon the Authorities negligence in breaching their “duty to take reasonable care for the players safety by establishing and implementing rules in respect of the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of actual or suspected concussive and sub-concussive injuries”.
The players allege this breach of duty has exposed them to a significant risk of serious or permanent brain damage caused by repeated concussive blows while playing.
All the players in the group are under the age of 45 and have been diagnosed with early onset dementia. One of the group, ex England and Northampton Hooker Steve Thompson, was part of England’s World Cup wining team in 2003. However, Thompson has no recollection of playing in the tournament or winning the trophy despite his key role. Also, part of the group is former Welsh international, Alix Popham. The Flanker’s early onset dementia and memory problems caused a fire at his home when he accidentally left a grill on. Former England Flanker, Michael Lipman, has been diagnosed with mild dementia at the age of 40.
Lawyers representing the players are indicating there are many more potential Claimants and, if successful, the damages due to the players from World Rugby, the RFU and the WRU could run into many millions. Whatever, the outcome, it is likely cause fundamental change to the game of rugby going forward.
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