A group of former English, Wales and Scotland international rugby league players are to sue the Rugby Football League (RFL), alleging a lack of protection against risks caused by head injuries.
- The players claim that the RFL owed them “a duty to take reasonable care of their safety”
- Retired British international Bobbie Goulding was diagnosed with early onset dementia this month
- The effect of concussion is a growing concern in the NRL
Retired English and English half-back Bobbie Goulding, former Wales winger Michael Edwards and former Scottish full-back Jason Roach are part of a test group of 10 former rugby league players – all under the age of 60 – who are suing.
They claim that the RFL owed them “a duty to take reasonable care for their safety by establishing and implementing rules regarding the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of actual or suspected concussion injuries and subconcussive injuries”.
The RFL is the governing body of the professional rugby league in England, and the NRL is expected to monitor developments in the class action lawsuit given the growing concern over concussions in contact sports in Australia.
In April, RFL launched a pilot project for a research project to quantify the risk of major impacts with the aim of increasing understanding and reducing future risk.
Its chief regulator, Karen Moorhouse, said “players’ well-being is a top priority for RFL and clubs”.
Goulding – who spent most of his 17-year career playing in the English Super League – was diagnosed with early dementia this month.
“It’s hard to take something like that to get out of the blue and hit me like a bus,” said the 49-year-old, who also had problems with alcohol and drug abuse.
The former players’ lawyer, Richard Boardman from the London-based law firm Rylands, also represents another 50 former rugby league players, who show symptoms associated with neurological complications.
Mr. Boardman said the former players took legal action to make the sport safer.
“The majority of the former players we represent love the game and do not want to see it damaged in any way,” he said.
“They just want to make it safer so current and future generations do not end up like them.”
Reuters / ABC