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Rugby players to take legal case over brain injuries
Pic: Alex Motoc on Unsplash

27 Jul 2022 / sports law Print

Rugby players to take legal case over brain injuries

Several former Irish rugby players are taking a case against the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), alleging they have suffered serious brain injuries during their playing careers.

Dublin 1-based litigation and personal-injury specialist, Maguire McClafferty LLP, has confirmed to The Irish Times that the case is pending, but has declined to confirm the number or names of those involved.

British case

The legal action will run alongside a British case taken by Rylands Law on behalf of a group of professional and semi-professional players against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union (RFU), and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

“There are Irish players involved, yes,”  senior partner Manus McClafferty confirmed to the newspaper, adding that proceedings are prepared and will issue by the end of September.

Class-action lawsuit

In Britain, Rylands represents more than 185 rugby union players aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and said that their application for a group litigation order is the biggest ‘class-action’ lawsuit to be launched outside the United States.

Former rugby players in England and Wales have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia and other irreversible neurological impairments, which they claim were caused by playing rugby and receiving repeated blows to the head during their careers.

Similar issues in Ireland

McClafferty confirmed that his clients have similar issues, such as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).

“The timeline will be decided very much by the IRFU, the way in which they approach the cases. We can go the long route or go the other route. It is up to the IRFU,” the solicitor said.  

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland