Claims could exceed £300m according to experts

Another 40 former players have joined the rugby brain injury legal action brought against the game’s governing bodies over claims they suffered permanent damage playing the sport.

Over 200 former rugby players began action last year with the total number of claimants now standing at 378 across rugby union, rugby league and football with lawyers set to file the claims at the High Court on Tuesday.

Read more: Rugby Fixtures

Ex-Wales and British and Irish Lions star Dafydd James told the BBC he was one of the players suffering with dementia and has been diagnosed with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The 47-year-old linked the condition with mental health issues he is experiencing.

Claimants argue that governing bodies were negligent in their failure to take reasonable action to prevent permanent injury from repetitive concussive and sub-concussive blows.

Richard Boardman – a partner at the sports legal firm, Rylands Garth, that is representing the players – said: “There is remarkable consistency of symptoms across all these contact sports and it’s very grim.

Related: Rugby World Cup homepage

“Everybody, the lawyers included in this matter, are all fans of these sports and our main priority is looking after our guys and female players as well with brain damage and they need urgent clinical support and damages for themselves and their families.

“We ultimately want these sports to survive well into the future, but clearly urgent, immediate changes are needed.”


Rugby brain injury legal action: Governing bodies’ response

In a joint statement, the RFU, WRU, and World Rugby said: “We care deeply about every member of the rugby family and have been saddened by the brave personal accounts of Dafydd and other former players who are struggling with health issues.

“Whilst legal claims prevent us from speaking to Dafydd directly, we would want him and his family to know that we care, we listen, and we never stand still when it comes to further cementing rugby as the most progressive sport on athlete welfare.

“Acting on the latest science, evidence and independent expert guidance, we constantly strive to safeguard and support all our players – future, current, and former. Rugby is a leader in the prevention, management and identification of head impacts and World Rugby also proactively funds transformational research, embraces innovation and explores technology that can make the sport as accessible, inclusive and safe as possible for all participants.”

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.