Several former rugby players suing three of the sport’s authorities over brain injuries must wait until next year to hear if they can litigate as a group; Procedural hearing on Friday removed the anonymity order, revealing 207 names involved, including likes of Phil Vickery, Gavin Henson
Last Updated: 01/12/23 6:09pm
England’s World Cup winning prop Phil Vickery, former Wales centre Gavin Henson and ex-All Blacks forward Carl Hayman are among 207 names revealed in the concussion in rugby procedural hearing.
A joint statement on behalf of World Rugby, WRU and RFU read: “Whilst today’s case management hearing was necessarily about legal process, we must not forget about the people and players at the heart of this case.
“Legal action prevents us reaching out to support the players involved, many of whom are named publicly for the first time today. But we want them to know that we care deeply about their struggles, that we are listening and that they are members of the rugby family.
“The court’s ruling for the second time that the claimants’ solicitors must provide information previously asked for is a positive step. Despite the court’s order from June 2023 the court noted that there was a “gaping hole” in the evidence provided by the claimant’s legal team. The further delay to the case is regrettable and the players’ lawyers seemingly prioritising media coverage over meeting their legal obligations, is challenging for all concerned; not least the players themselves.
“Player welfare is rugby’s top priority, and will continue to be our top priority. Rugby is committed to leading the welfare agenda in sport, driven by evolving science and research to protect and support players at all levels.
“This includes world first initiatives, such as the use of smart mouthguard technology by all elite players to facilitate in-game monitoring and treatment of concussive and sub concussive impacts. A lower tackle height is also being trialled in the community game to ensure that the benefits of our great sport can be enjoyed by all.”
‘Case is far from straightforward’
Sky Sports News’ James Cole said….
“This was a procedural hearing, one of a few before the case gets under way. It’s aimed at thrashing out legal arguments, but the biggest development to come out of it was the lifting of the anonymity order.
“The anonymity of former players taking legal action against the governing bodies, accusing them of not taking due care and protecting their welfare, allowing them to suffer these head knocks which has caused them neurological issues later in life.
“We now know more names behind this group litigation. The highest-profile names are former England prop Phil Vickery – a World Cup winning prop – we didn’t know about him, and former Wales centre Gavin Henson.
“There are around about 55 internationals on this new list of 207, a number of them coming out of Wales. Chris Jones, Dafydd James, Ian Gough, Jamie Robinson.
“This is a huge, huge case, and could be a landmark case. However, it is far from straightforward and very complex as it dates over a number of years and decades even, where different amounts were known about the impact of head injuries, and different measures were taken, particularly from 2011 onwards when World Rugby changed its head injury protocol.
“It crosses a whole range of neurological processes, including CTE, depression, motor neurone disease, early onset dementia.”
Source : Sky Sports