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Clarke Willmott Foresees Major Impact of Brain Injury Claim on Rugby

Clarke Willmott Foresees Major Impact of Brain Injury Claim on Rugby


Lee Hart of Clarke Willmott highlights significant implications for rugby, irrespective of claim outcome

Lee Hart, emphasized the profound effect an ongoing High Court claim involving nearly 300 former rugby players could have on the sport, regardless of the verdict.

This legal action, taken by 295 former players against rugby's governing bodies, asserts damages due to various neurological impairments, including early-onset dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) supposedly incurred from their rugby careers.

The claimants, including renowned players like Steve Thompson, Phil Vickery, and members of England's 2003 World Cup-winning squad, argue that inadequate protection and unawareness of the potential health risks led to their conditions.

Amassing over 5,000 pages of medical records and case summaries, the litigation initiated in 2020 targets World Rugby, England's Rugby Football Union, and the Welsh Rugby Union. However, the cases are not expected to reach trial before 2024 ends.

Lee Hart underscored the challenge of establishing the causal link between negligence and injury, citing a parallel with American Football players' successful claims against the NFL. He emphasized the potential impact on rugby across all levels, foreseeing potential changes in professional sports' duty of care owed to participants.

Regardless of the case's resolution—be it a settlement or trial outcome—Hart asserts that the repercussions will be substantial, influencing rugby's landscape from school to professional levels.