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Six Nations 2022, Sport And Concussion4th Feb 2022

Concussion In Rugby

Forward Courtney Lawes has been ruled out of England's Six Nations opener against Scotland.

Lawes was favourite to fill in as captain given Owen Farrell has been ruled out for the championship, but he is recovering from concussion. Lawes sustained the head injury playing for Northampton on 16 January and has not yet passed return-to-play protocols.

National teams and clubs have a duty of care to their players.

Keeping them on the field or returning them to play too early after a concussion injury risks leaving them with permanent damage: Post-Concussion Syndrome.

Never forget…concussion is a brain injury.

Rugby Concussion Legal Action: Class Action

Lenny Woodard is the latest of a long line of players suing World Rugby, the RFU in England and the WRU over what they claim is a failure to protect them from the risks caused by concussions.

Aged just 45, the former Wales rugby international was diagnosed with early onset dementia.

Many former international rugby league players have announced their intention to bring legal action against the Rugby Football League, claiming the governing body failed to protect them from the risks of brain damage caused by concussion.

In recent years, rugby has been treating concussion more seriously than ever. It has a strict protocol detailing when and how players who have sustained head injuries should be safely returned to play.

Flagship tournaments such as the Six Nations are a crucial test of how strictly teams adhere to the principles of the current concussion protocol.

Concussion In Football

In the recent Africa Cup of Nations tournament Sadio Mane was allowed to come back on to the field after receiving medical attention and shortly afterwards scored a goal to give Senegal the lead.

However, as Mane celebrated, he collapsed to the ground and then left the field shortly afterwards, complaining of a headache and was taken to hospital.

Mane’s collision with Cape Verde keeper Vozinha, clearly left both players with head injuries. The decision to allow Sadio Mane to play on after suffering a head injury has been condemned by brain injury association Headway as it appears to be an example of football ‘putting results ahead of player safety’.

This incident was followed with yet more concussion controversy involving Senegal at their next game, as a clash of heads saw Nampalys Mendy stretched off - before he returned to the pitch to play on.


Super Bowl LVI and American Football

Concussion remains a huge issue in American football. America’s NFL agreed to pay $1 billion (£670 million) to former players diagnosed with brain injuries.

To date, it is reported that the concussion fund has paid out $821 million for five types of brain injuries, including early and advanced dementia, Parkinson's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS.

This headline-grabbing settlement has effectively opened the door for Post Concussion Syndrome compensation claims in other sports around the world.

UK Government To Develop New Protocols Around Concussion In Sport

In December 2021 the Government published an action plan on tackling concussion in sport to help reduce risks associated with head injuries.

“Concussion and the risks posed by head injury represents a cross-sport issue and the Government believes it is necessary to bring the sport, health, education and technology sectors together to address the issue collaboratively.”

Read more here


Get Expert Legal Advice

Have you or someone you know been affected by concussion?

Get specialist legal advice from Coles Miller litigation executive and former rugby international Crispin Cormack, 01202 355695.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.