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Concussion in sport - How employers’ duties compare in the U.K., Ireland & North America

Rugby tackle in the air
Monday, 17 July 2017 By Jack Anderson, Jon Heshka

This article examines how player concussions are currently being dealt with by sports and the status of concussion-related litigation. The first half, by Prof. Jack Anderson, looks at the situation in the U.K and Ireland, focusing principally on football and Rugby Union. The second half (by Associate Dean Jon Hehska) gives a comparative perspective from the U.S. and Canada, looking at situation in the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, the National Hockey League and the NCAA. The authors conclude by offering their thoughts on whether we may soon see the “U.S. style” litigation of class action lawsuits closer to home. 

Specifically, this article examines:

  • An introduction to concussion issues in 2016/17

  • Rugby Union and concussion
    • The Cillian Willis case
    • The Jamie Cudmore case

  • Summary of key developments in U.K. and Ireland

  • Concussion litigation in the United States and Canada
    • National Football League
    • Canadian Football League
    • National Hockey League
    • National Collegiate Athletic Association

  • Conclusions: will we see U.S.-style concussion litigation in the U.K.?

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Written by

Jack Anderson

Jack Anderson

Jack Anderson is Special Counsel (Integrity Regulation) at Racing Victoria. Formerly Professor and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne, he has published extensively on sports law, most recently with D Thorpe, A Buti, P Jonson & J Anderson, Sports Law (4th ed, OUP, 2022).

He is a member of World Athletics’ Disciplinary Tribunal, the integrity unit of the International Hockey Federation, and the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission. Jack is an arbitrator on Football Australia’s National Dispute Resolution Chamber, the National Sports Tribunal of Australia and Sport Resolutions UK.

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Jon Heshka

Jon Heshka

Jon Heshka served as Associate Dean of Law from 2013 to 2017. Since arriving at TRU in 2002, Jon played an active role in university governance having served as, amongst other positions, vice-chair of Senate and chair of the Educational Planning Committee of Senate.

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