Six Nations 2016, Super Bowl 50 And Concussion
The Six Nations has only just got under way and there is already a case of suspected concussion: Ireland winger Keith Earls is in doubt for Saturday’s match with France.
Last Sunday’s Super Bowl saw another possible incidence. Carolina Panthers wide receiver Philly Brown left the field for a concussion check. He had also sustained a calf injury.
There is no doubt the major sports are taking concussion much more seriously.
Notably America’s NFL which has agreed to pay $1 billion (£670 million) to former players diagnosed with brain injuries.
This headline-grabbing settlement has effectively opened the door for Post Concussion Syndrome compensation claims in other sports around the world.
In Britain, it is rugby that has hit the headlines with concussion. The RFU has introduced a safety protocol that outlines a graduated return to play.
Flagship tournaments such as the Six Nations will be a crucial test of how strictly teams adhere to the principles of that protocol.
It is one thing to rest a player for two weeks at the start of a tournament.
But what happens when a tournament reaches its closing stages? Will teams be tempted to cut corners when a vital player risks missing a make-or-break match due to suspected concussion?
Only time will tell.
Horseracing has also recognised the issue. Three times champion jump jockey Richard Dunwoody is among the early volunteers for a Concussion in Sport research programme.
And while the initial stages will focus on retired jockeys, the research will have important ramifications for all sports affected by concussion.
Sports governing bodies now realise – quite sensibly – that it’s a nettle they cannot fail to grasp.
Concussion is now mainstream.
On February 12 the new Will Smith movie Concussion will receive its UK premiere. Its official YouTube trailer has already received more than 14 million views.
This Ridley Scott film will inevitably push the issue of Post Concussion Syndrome even higher up the news agenda – resulting in greater media coverage and potentially more compensation claims.
Have you or a loved one been affected by concussion? Get specialist legal advice from Coles Miller litigation executive and former rugby international Crispin Cormack, 01202 355695.