Latest lawsuit shows brain injuries are factor at all levels of rugby | Andy Bull

The legal action brought about by 55 former amateur players has a potential impact to affect hundreds of thousands

It’s been a fortnight since the letters of claim went out in the latest round of legal action against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union. Here in the Guardian we ran an interview with one of the claimants, 48-year-old Alex Abbey, who was diagnosed with probable CTE in 2015, 12 years on from the end of a club rugby career in which he suffered multiple concussions. Abbey is one of 55 former amateur players involved in the case. It is a much smaller group than the 225 former professionals involved in the first lawsuit we reported on in 2020, but, for the authorities, it could be even more damaging.

The 225 are, in the large part, men who played top-level club rugby in the years soon after the game turned professional, an era when they had professional workloads, but amateur attitudes, outdated coaching methods and, as often as not, oblivious medical care. The 55, though, are a more diverse group. It includes men who played club rugby before the game turned professional in 1995, women who played international rugby more recently, but still before their version of the sport was professional, former youth players who never graduated to the senior level, as well as the family of a deceased player who was diagnosed with CTE postmortem.

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