Concussion debate rolls on and player sanctioned for pushing referee

European rugby law update 11 March 2014

Published 11 March 2014 | Authored by: Henry Elkington


Concussion issues coming to a head?

Players such as Rory Lamont, Alex Corbisiero and Lewis Moody have spoken out against the attitude towards and protocols involved surrounding concussion.

Barry O’Driscoll, uncle to Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll and former medical advisor to the International Rugby Board (IRB), spoke about the issue in the newly released documentary- ‘Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis’. O’Driscoll resigned from his post in protest to his nephew being allowed to return to the field of action against France in March of last year. He claimed that had “been allowed in the United States, during an American football match, then the officials involved would have been sacked.” Recent research has revealed that injuries to the head may put a player at risk of succumbing to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in later life. This was formerly known as “punch drunk syndrome”, traditionally linked with boxers.

A parliamentary inquiry, into the way sports handle concussion and the regulations surrounding it, has been called for by Chris Bryant MP. Bryan has warned that "if sporting authorities don't act now, lawsuits in this country are a real possibility". These lawsuits are already evident in the United States where a recent case for a proposed $765m settlement has been rejected for it being too low by District Judge Anita Brody. Brody, in her ruling on Tuesday 14 january, notes that the plan may have to cover nearly 20,000 men for 65 years and the settlement is therefore insufficient.

This could become an issue in the UK when the long term effects of continuous concussions start being seen more readily as the first generation of the bigger, stronger, fitter rugby players get older thus revealing the effects. In November the Rugby Football Union set up a working group to research the link between multiple concussion and dementia.

Sources articles:



Kieran Brookes pushes his luck

Newcastle Falcons prop Kieran Brookes has been given a six week suspension for pushing Greg Garner in a game against Leicester Tigers on March 2. Brookes claimed he needed to get round the Referee to make a tackle as he was effectively “obstructing my path”. In attempting to get past the Referee, he pushed him. The prop claimed that it was not his intention and that he did not realise at the time either that he had pushed the referee or that the referee had stumbled to the ground as a result. The Newcastle prop admitted to an act contrary to good sportsmanship contrary to Law 10.4(m).

Brookes is to pay the £500 costs on top of the 6 week ban which will enable his availability for selection for the final two Premiership matches.

Sources articles: 

Thanks goes to Tim O’Conoor (Follow on Twitter: @timoconnorbl) for bringing this to our attention.

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About the Author

Henry Elkington

Henry Elkington

Henry is an aspiring sports lawyer, currently completing his GDL in Cardiff. Henry graduated from the Cardiff University with a B.A. in History and Philosophy. He has a passion for all sports especially rugby and tennis having played for the first team at Cardiff University.

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