LONDON – Dozens of former rugby players have written to the sport’s governing body, saying they were inadequately protected against brain injuries before possible lawsuits .
A letter of demand has been sent to World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union, which oversees English rugby, and the Welsh Rugby Union from over 55 fans.
The group includes several retired women’s internationals, elite male players who played the sport before turning professional in 1995, elite youth teams and the family of a male rugby player who died of the disease. cerebrovascular disease (CTE).
Their main focus is on keeping themselves and their families out of harm’s way, in addition to trying to level the playing field for future generations.
Law firm Rylands Garth, which is behind the case, already represents 275 former professional athletes with brain damage, including World Cup winner Steve Thompson. of England Rugby in 2003 and Ryan Jones, former captain of Wales, who carried out similar activities with various institutions.
Richard Boardman of Rylands Garth said: “It doesn’t matter what level of game you’ve played at, whether it’s at school or in senior rugby, and professionally whether it’s romantic, male or female, it’s sad to see. It’s a worrisome neurological deficit at every level of the game.
“This is a life and death issue for many. Most of the current and former players we represent love the game and don’t want to see it happen no matter what.
“We are also now representing the estates of deceased players who have tested positive for CTE, which is clear evidence that contact sports are responsible. Those involved just want to keep the sport safe so it doesn’t end. present and future generations. like them.”
Boardman said the claimants are asking rugby’s governing body to make “immediate changes” including mandatory limits on training contact and improved pitch evaluation.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont addressed the issue of player welfare in an open letter on Wednesday looking ahead to 2023, when the World Cup will be held in France.
“We started 2022 with a focus on rugby and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together,” he said. “But we must not stop and we will not stop.
“This year will bring independent and peer-reviewed research from our global intelligent mouthguard survey. This data will provide unprecedented insights into the game and form the basis of the further development of laws, protocols and guidelines supporting welfare.
“There will also be progress, in relation to other key pillars of the welfare plan, including our commitment to education and support for ex-players. All of this will help to safeguard rugby’s place will be the most advanced sport in terms of player welfare.”