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Former Rugby Players Sue Governing Bodies Over Neurological Injuries

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Salman Khan
New Update
Former Rugby Players Sue Governing Bodies Over Neurological Injuries

On the cusp of an era-defining lawsuit, nearly 300 former rugby players are taking a stand against three major rugby governing bodies, alleging negligence in the protection of their health and safety. Leading the charge are Mark Regan and Phil Vickery, members of England's 2003 World Cup-winning team, and Gavin Henson, a former Wales and British and Irish Lions centre. The collective action targets World Rugby, England's Rugby Football Union (RFU), and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), all accused of failing to implement adequate measures to shield players from the perils of concussions and other head injuries.

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The Delayed Decision

The case, being heard at London's High Court, involves claimants ranging from 22 to 80 years old, all of whom allege that their careers in the sport have left them with debilitating neurological conditions. However, the case's progression has been stymied, with the decision on a group litigation order (GLO) pushed back until 2024. A GLO would enable a collective lawsuit on behalf of all claimants, optimizing the legal process and enhancing the impact of their unified voice.

The Players' Plea

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The delay has provoked a strong response from the players' legal representation, who argue that the governing bodies 'ought to have known of the likelihood of long-term neurological complications' from repeated concussive or sub-concussive blows to the head. These injuries, they contend, have triggered a range of disorders, from early onset dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy to epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and motor neurone disease.

Significance of the Case

The landmark case represents more than a legal battle; it's a crucial moment in the broader dialogue around the safety of contact sports and the responsibilities of sporting organisations. This journey towards accountability and the pursuit of player welfare promises to reshape the landscape of rugby, sending ripples across all contact sports and placing a newfound emphasis on player health and safety.

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