Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

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Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by Tigerbeat » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:35 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/55201237

Rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson and seven other former players claim the sport has left them with permanent brain damage - and are in the process of starting a claim against the game's authorities for negligence.
Every member of the group has recently been diagnosed with the early signs of dementia, and they say repeated blows to the head are to blame.
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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by Cagey Tiger » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:43 pm


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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by ourla » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:53 pm

Series of articles in the Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... legal-case
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... ial-report
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... d-not-face

I think things have improved but I think it's been too slow and more needs to be done still.
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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by jgriffin » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:55 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... d-not-face?
Almost exactly what we have all been saying about reverting the game to old school, and predicted in part by former athletics national coach and rugby man Tom McNab at the beginning of the 90s. If it means dropping 5 subs and getting back to most players lasting 80 mins, all the better, and drop the breakdown rubbish and go back to rucks.
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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by JP14 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:48 pm

Very sad that all these players have developed early onset dementia, this hopefully will be the kick up the backside World Rugby needs to drastically revert breakdowns to rucks!
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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by Dangerous4 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:45 pm

jgriffin wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:55 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... d-not-face?
Almost exactly what we have all been saying about reverting the game to old school, and predicted in part by former athletics national coach and rugby man Tom McNab at the beginning of the 90s. If it means dropping 5 subs and getting back to most players lasting 80 mins, all the better, and drop the breakdown rubbish and go back to rucks.
Very well said. :smt023

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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by SthrnTiger » Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:13 pm

jgriffin wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:55 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... d-not-face?
Almost exactly what we have all been saying about reverting the game to old school, and predicted in part by former athletics national coach and rugby man Tom McNab at the beginning of the 90s. If it means dropping 5 subs and getting back to most players lasting 80 mins, all the better, and drop the breakdown rubbish and go back to rucks.
Will this really help though, could actually make it worse for the players by increasing the number of collisions they have. Maro and Billy aren’t exactly small, pretty much always play 80 minutes and are constantly putting in big hits. We can’t rewind the clock to when rugby players were less skilled and not as conditioned.

The new rules should help a bit and there’s more tweaking that could happen but theres always going to collisions in rugby so the only true way to combat this I see is have players play fewer games by either having much larger squads or simply cutting the fixture list down.

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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by jgriffin » Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:51 am

SthrnTiger wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:13 pm
jgriffin wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:55 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... d-not-face?
Almost exactly what we have all been saying about reverting the game to old school, and predicted in part by former athletics national coach and rugby man Tom McNab at the beginning of the 90s. If it means dropping 5 subs and getting back to most players lasting 80 mins, all the better, and drop the breakdown rubbish and go back to rucks.
Will this really help though, could actually make it worse for the players by increasing the number of collisions they have. Maro and Billy aren’t exactly small, pretty much always play 80 minutes and are constantly putting in big hits. We can’t rewind the clock to when rugby players were less skilled and not as conditioned.

The new rules should help a bit and there’s more tweaking that could happen but theres always going to collisions in rugby so the only true way to combat this I see is have players play fewer games by either having much larger squads or simply cutting the fixture list down.
The shoulder charges and barges would go, for a start, since the Laws related to engaging scrum style, using hands, not flying into someone shoulder first. Simply moving offside at tackles back would also help as sides are always a step offside especially out wide, thus allowing attacks to move the defence around instead of just barging into a brick wall. - a job for the ARs. Tackler rolling away etc plus I still think one innovation would be a tackle line on every jersey at nipple height or even the waist - the nearer the tackle to Centre Of Gravity or below, the less (far less) rebound and the much higher chance of an offload rather than a pile-up.
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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by ourla » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:31 am

I think the training wise a lot has now changed but perhaps there needs to be more transparency, protocols, independent involvement.

Match wise I think they just need to continually look at the laws. Personally I don't think reducing subs is the way to go. And you have to accept some incidents will occur. I clashed heads with my brother more than once play fighting/wrestling. Also being 6'4" I've had a few blows with low beams!

Listening to Thompson one of the biggest issues was "beasting" in training.
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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by johnthegriff » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:44 am

I confess that when I first heard this news my reaction was that nobody made them play rugby. I have given it more thought since, I and quite a few on this messageboard played the game at a lower level or in the amateur days where training was for a couple of hours on a Tuesday and Thursday evening with not a lot of scrum work or tackling particularly for those playing for a club without training lights. Our season in the olden days was from September 1st through to April 30th with ample recovery time between seasons. Today for a professional player the season ends late May or even early June with a gap of about 6 weeks before contact training starts and only another couple of weeks before pre-season games. England players going on Summer tours get an enforced 11 week break before a competitive match but contact training will be ahead of that. Players involved in a World Cup will have little rest between seasons. Things, are I believe better for the player now than they were in the early days of professionalism when amateur players had to adjust without the benefit of five or six years build up and conditioning throughout their teen years. Another factor that has come in is the clearing out at the ruck, I see players standing off the ruck in a guard position often with back to opposition being rocked by a hit which in my eyes is tackling a man without the ball but is not seen as such by today's refs, in fact much of the action at the breakdown designed to speed up the game is downright dangerous.
Before the pandemic I used to visit our training ground fairly regularly, in recent years I have not seen the full on contact and legendary fights that we heard about twenty years ago so I do think we have learned a bit along the way but maybe there is still more the authorities, medical staff and law makers can do.

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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by MCC1964 » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:10 pm

Well perhaps one measure is tougher sanctions for the sort of actions that have seen Esterhuizen and Townsend banned for four and five weeks. Are they any better or worse than eye gouging, for instance? And I'm not being holier than thou here just becuase one of our players was a victim nor too one eyed to suppose our own players are innocent. But that and in conjunction with law changes has to be the way forward. Players often look like rutting stags at the breakdown as well, trying to charge in and get underneath the opposition player.

We have come a long way to protect the players, but I would suspect not yet far enough. I don't want our game to become like league and I don't confess to have the answers, but seeing cases like Steve Thompson and others is heart breaking, even if part of me wonders whether liability and negligence can really be proven. But then again there have been similar class actions like the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in the US, so who knows.

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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by jgriffin » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:09 pm

Discussed this last night and one point came up - how much is damage exacerbated by performance drug use. We know it occurs throughout rugby (Wales online expose, some tendon/muscle separation injuries, RL). We do not know how much the hyper-vasculisation affects vulnerability of the brain, but given that 20% of blood supply circulates in the brain at any one time, it is a factor to be noted.
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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by Wayne Richardson Fan Club » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:42 pm

The use of Performance Enhanching Drugs is a but product of the modern game, with players ridiculously over muscled, perhaps with a bit more "padding" some of the hits to the body wouldn't be as bad, the large upper body isn't helpful for actual ball skills as the muscles are trained to do nice passes.
The game really needs to get ahead of this or it will be like NFL & Football not too far down the line.
Rugby used to be a sport for all sizes, at all levels, not sure that is the case anymore.
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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by BFG » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:55 pm

Rugby was supposed to be a hobby.
The odd friendly run out and a social.
The 1's or the 3's it didn't matter as everyone ended in the same bar after.
The only full on competitive fixtures were cup matches and an occasional local derby.
Probably two or three proper full on games a season unless you went further in the cup.
I had reservations when the game went pro with playing full on so often a season and for so long over the years for a career.

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Re: Rugby players to sue for brain damage!

Post by Old Hob » Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:08 pm

I agree with BFG and others who remember fondly the old days when the world seemed kinder. Backs more and more wear scrum caps and the protection seems to be getting thicker under jerseys. This will not help unless there are law and attitude changes. Commentators drooling over "big hits" and talk of "smashing" opponents does not help. The NFL players have huge amounts of padding and protection but it did not stop serious injury when concern for player welfare was minimal. I remember John Riggins of the Washington Redskins (as was) having injections in his lower spine to kill the pain not just before every game but before each play!
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