Rugby faces concussion bombshell as 70 players sue over head injuries

Rugby faces concussion lawsuit bombshell as 70 former players – including All Blacks Carl Hayman and Geoff Old and ex-England lock Mouritz Botha – ask British law firm to sue unions over head injuries

  • Players from all over the world have asked a British law firm to start legal action  
  • They have endured health problems linked to head injuries during their careers 
  • Former England flanker Michael Lipman, 40, has the symptoms of mild dementia

The Rugby Football Union, the Welsh Rugby Union and World Rugby are all in danger of being subjected to legal action by former players who have endured health problems linked to head injuries during their careers.

Details emerged in New Zealand on Monday of the growing prospect of a group of around 70 ex-players preparing to sue governing bodies for damages, having endured the after-effects of concussions. 

It is understood that a British law firm have been instructed to act on behalf of the group and while proceedings have not been officially launched yet, it is merely a matter of time.

Former All Black prop Carl Hayman confirmed the players are gearing up for a legal battle

The New Zealand Herald quoted former All Black prop Carl Hayman as saying: ‘From what I understand, it’s a pretty ever-growing list of (players). I think it’s going to be something quite substantial.’ 

One recent England player told Sportsmail that actions and advice from the RFU in relation to concussion episodes have been under intense scrutiny.

Michael Lipman, the ex-Bath flanker who won 10 caps for England between 2004 and 2008, has been suffering the symptoms of mild dementia, at the age of just 40. 

Michael Lipman suffered 30 concussions during his career and now has mild dementia at 40

Now living in Australia, he estimates that he suffered 30 concussions during his career and told the Sydney Morning Herald last month: ‘If I wasn’t completely knocked out, I played on.’

According to the Daily Telegraph, former England lock Mouritz Botha – who was forced to retire due to concussion – has confirmed that he is involved in the group action, which also reportedly involves rugby league players.

The potential ‘epidemic’ of these cases has created a torrent of health issues including amnesia, depression and migraines.

Former All Blacks forward Geoff Old (right) has also been in contact with British-based lawyers

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