Rugby has dominated the sport headlines as of late as we get further in to the World Cup. There is no denying the games popularity as it quickly finds itself becoming one of the fastest growing sports, with over two and half million players worldwide from grassroots to professional level.
Amidst the excitement, there has been a slightly sombre note underpinning the tournament. A string of high profile injuries have reinforced calls for the sport’s governing body to reassess whether they are doing enough to protect young players. The risk of head injuries and concussion in particular has been identified as a key concern.
The nature of the game – high collision and high impact – means that concussion and traumatic head injuries are a regular occurrence. Children and amateur players make up the bulk of these injuries, with lack of experience and technical skill placing them at greater risk. Although there are safeguards in place such as the Pitch Side Concussion Assessment, or the five minutes rule, it is impossible for medics to know the extent of the damage sustained, particularly long-term harm. Researchers have found a link between repeat concussions and mild cognitive impairment. Evidence also shows a direct correlation between traumatic head injuries and serious degenerative health issues such as Parkinson’s disease.
Similar concerns were voiced earlier in the year, prompting a change in actions for the National Football League (NFL) in America. The NFL was required to pay out a £1 billion settlement to 18,000 retired players due to brain injuries sustained whilst playing the sport. This places the heads of World Rugby in a precarious position. Whilst the organisation is responsible for setting the rules and laws of the game at a profession level, careful consideration must be given as to how these rules translate into schools and youth teams. Traumatic brain injuries in children are extremely problematic due to the brain not yet being fully developed – leaving the affected child vulnerable to further long term damage.
As with any sport there will always be an element of risk, although injury levels in rugby remain alarming high. Here at Farleys Solicitors our personal injury team have an extensive history of acting for claimants who have suffered sports and other injuries, including claims for professional sports people, recovering millions of pounds in compensation. For further information or to speak to specialist in sports injury claims call 0845 050 1958. Alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.