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

Rugby tackle in the air
Published: Monday, 17 July 2017. Written by Jack Anderson, Jon Heshka No Comments

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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About the Author

Jack Anderson

Jack Anderson

Jack Anderson is Professor and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne. The sports law program at Melbourne was one of the first to be established globally in the mid-1980 and continues to expand at the Melbourne Law School, which itself is ranked in the top 10 law schools globally.

Jack has published widely in the area including monographs such as The Legality of Boxing (Routledge 2007) and Modern Sports Law (Hart 2010) and edited collections such as Landmark Cases in Sports Law (Asser 2013) and EU Sports Law (Edward Elgar 2018 with R Parrish and B Garcia). He was Editor-in-Chief of the International Sports Law Journal from 2013 to 2016.

Jack is a former member of CAS (2016-2019).  He is currently a member and arbitrator for World Athletics’ Disciplinary Tribunal, the National Sports Tribunal of Australia and the Football Federation of Victoria.  He is a member of International Hockey Federation’s Integrity Unit and Basketball Australia’s National Integrity Advisory Committee.  in 2019, he was appointed to the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission and is currently a Board Member of Harness Racing Victoria.

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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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