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I think we must also consider the possibility that both parties will want to avoid Court. The RFL for costs and bad publicity reasons and Goulding et al because him being cross examined would be a disaster (especially given his admissions of cheating concussion tests). In my non-expert view, an out of court settlement with a confidentiality clause strikes me as a reasonable possibility. 

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1 hour ago, Wakefield Ram said:

It will probably not reach the courts. The insurers will have the choice of settling or risk as you say a very expensive court case (2 sets of legal costs) and a large settlement. There's investment funds which fund class actions (in return for % of damages) the solicitors might be taking no win no fee approach and the players might have to part fund or a combination 

With a combined RU/RL ex-players suit and next to no defence "you didn't think that a player suffering repeated blows to the head and concussions would have any effect on his brain?" and potentially tens if not hundreds of millions in possible compensation, then they wouldn't have taken it this far if they didn't think they've a very good chance.

All they have to prove is that a cohort of ex-players in their 40s/50s has a higher % of dementia against a same cohort of non-players and do some brain scans to show the damage and that's pretty much game over.

Think they'd be no shortage of brain experts happy to state that repeated concussions and blows to the head can contribute to dementia. I doubt they'll find many experts to would testify that repeated blows to the head has no effect on the brain.

The RFL insurers will have re-insured the risk, so some of their losses will be offset. 

They can negotiate a settlement (known amount) or fight it and risk millions in legal costs plus an unknown amount of damages which could be even higher (unknown amount but almost certain to be higher because of costs). 

 

Without wanting to get into the legal technicalities of it that is just simply untrue...

 

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Players are also renowned for their heavy drinking, abusing prescription pain medication and Street brawls. Would this not be brought up in a court case

Bobbie Goulding for instance has admitted he abused alcohol, cocaine and prescription drugs. He even lost consciousness when he wrapped his car round a tree while drink driving. He has also been in trouble for street fighting. How someone like Bobbie Goulding could link his unfortunate dementia to RL is laughable.

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9 minutes ago, Mattrhino said:

Players are also renowned for their heavy drinking, abusing prescription pain medication and Street brawls. Would this not be brought up in a court case

Bobbie Goulding for instance has admitted he abused alcohol, cocaine and prescription drugs. He even lost consciousness when he wrapped his car round a tree while drink driving. He has also been in trouble for street fighting. How someone like Bobbie Goulding could link his unfortunate dementia to RL is laughable.

Yes, one way or another it would be.

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Am sad to hear of his plight.

No doubt I will now be barraged like Farage for my next flippant yet accurate point, but here goes:

Goulding should have been the second ever player to be sent off at Wembley in 1993 for his high shot on Jason Robinson. Richard Eyres had already been dispatched earlier in the same game for a head shot.

Personally I believe that the referee took pity on Goulding. One red card had already been enough.

Recollections do indeed vary.

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10 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

 When the sport was asking players to play three times in eight days over Easter, is that mitigating the risks?

If the game's response to issues like that is, "well, we needed to play all those games because we needed the money", then it isn't good enough. 

 

8 hours ago, Dunbar said:

But can we judge the people in charge in the 80's, 90's and even early 2000's in the same way when the effects were less known.  Judging people from previous decades based on what has become known relatively recently seems inherently unfair to me.

Bobbie Goulding began his pro career at a time when knock-out competitions took precedence over the league. Combined with postponements due to the weather, this meant the successful clubs often had to shoehorn a ridiculous number of games into a short period of time at the end of the season.

After their CC semi in 1990-91, this was Wigan`s championship run-in. - Beginning on the 26th of March, they played Tuesday, Friday, Monday, Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 13th April.

I recall a radio interview with John Monie at the time. This phrase stuck in my mind  - "I don`t agree with what we`ve been asked to do". The club physio was also featured and talked about "the toll on the body" and "the need for the body to rest".

This isn`t specific to head injuries, but as circumstantial evidence, it`s all indicative of the attitude administrators had to the welfare of their players.

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2 hours ago, Mattrhino said:

Players are also renowned for their heavy drinking, abusing prescription pain medication and Street brawls. Would this not be brought up in a court case

Bobbie Goulding for instance has admitted he abused alcohol, cocaine and prescription drugs. He even lost consciousness when he wrapped his car round a tree while drink driving. He has also been in trouble for street fighting. How someone like Bobbie Goulding could link his unfortunate dementia to RL is laughable.

Bob Goulding has at times wasted his talent

Alcohol, drugs, fights the works 

Really bad influence on many which is why his coaching career floundered.. 

He was far from being alone and hopefully he has reformed as an individual l 

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1 hour ago, unapologetic pedant said:

 

Bobbie Goulding began his pro career at a time when knock-out competitions took precedence over the league. Combined with postponements due to the weather, this meant the successful clubs often had to shoehorn a ridiculous number of games into a short period of time at the end of the season.

After their CC semi in 1990-91, this was Wigan`s championship run-in. - Beginning on the 26th of March, they played Tuesday, Friday, Monday, Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 13th April.

I recall a radio interview with John Monie at the time. This phrase stuck in my mind  - "I don`t agree with what we`ve been asked to do". The club physio was also featured and talked about "the toll on the body" and "the need for the body to rest".

This isn`t specific to head injuries, but as circumstantial evidence, it`s all indicative of the attitude administrators had to the welfare of their players.

Mission Impossible.

Magnificent for we spectators but time would tell as to the detrimental effect of so many games on the players.

They have obviously suffered in later life.

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6 hours ago, Wakefield Ram said:

Firstly sorry to hear about your brother, hope he's doing okay.

In one case you're right it's hard to prove, but when you have a large number of people it is easier.

You take the incidence of dementia in people in 40s who played pro RL and incidence on a similar group who didn't. 

Making some numbers up here but say non-players in 40s, dementia affects 1 in 100 and ex-players it's 5 in 100, then you start to prove a higher risk of dementia. You can say players drank more but they were fitter etc.. but I suspect the solicitors will have easily enough to win, so the insurers will settle.

He is fine thanks .

You cant make numbers up . Are numbers available that give this type of information ?

 Not sure UK based professional sports will be to keen on settling without a fight . 

League especially .  

   

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I honestly can not believe the abuse these players are getting by some fellow players on social media. They all act like 10 men but Im sure there view would be different if it were them that ended up with dementia in their mid 40's or early 50's.

The number of times I have read players say that they knew the risks but I don't know about any other ex-players on here but I can honestly say I didn't have a clue. I played Rugby because I loved it, now the question could be asked if I would have done anything different if I knew the risks and the answer would probably be not but I certainly did not know the risks.

Ive seen it said as well in the RFL's defence that things have improved recently and back then nobody knew possible consequences of playing with concussion or anything like that but I could also argue that recently the RFL let semi pro games go ahead where teams only had 13 or 14 players available which totally goes against their stance surrounding player welfare.

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A slightly different point... regards player welfare.   Yes the overall sport and hence RFL have a part to play but so do individual clubs.  Their the ones who pick players and hence how many games or if they are injured but still picked. In fact if I take that logic then also individual coaches.

Surely the targets for taking action against is both RFL and the clubs that may well have contributed more to the problem.

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Goulding seemed to be saying that it was the RFLs fault that players cheated the tests. They weren’t school kids, you would think that people old enough to know better would be trusted to be honest about these things. Back in those days it wasn’t known about the effects on the brain and can you say it is the RFLs fault that he was made to play so soon after being knocked out or was it down to the club?

Am I imagining this or was there a rule in the 80s/early 90s that players had to miss the next game if they had went off with a head injury?

 

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On 28/10/2021 at 17:18, Wakefield Ram said:

Firstly sorry to hear about your brother, hope he's doing okay.

In one case you're right it's hard to prove, but when you have a large number of people it is easier.

You take the incidence of dementia in people in 40s who played pro RL and incidence on a similar group who didn't. 

Making some numbers up here but say non-players in 40s, dementia affects 1 in 100 and ex-players it's 5 in 100, then you start to prove a higher risk of dementia. You can say players drank more but they were fitter etc.. but I suspect the solicitors will have easily enough to win, so the insurers will settle.

Agree that's a good start, but still, proving a causal link is difficult as there could well be many other factors to be taken into account.  Yes, I can see a pre-trial settlement of some sort, though I'd like it to be not necessarily a cash settlement.. Pre-empt things by some sort of RFL scheme to fund research into the issue to determine the risk factors so they can be attended to in traning and attended to in the rules, provide for the welfare of ex-players (player clinics, screening etc),   as well as improving the overall situation for player care.  Just handing money to the plaintiffs does nothing for others in future and it may not be used for the purpose intended.  Whether Goulding knew the risks or not, whether the RFL should have done more or  not is not the issue for me. Having lost both father in law and mother in law to dementia (Alzheimer’s disease in one case, vascular dementia in the other) I can testify to the toll it takes on relatives and carers and that's where the support needs to be targetted. I don't know enough about Rugby League Cares but maybe this is something that could get involved in, if it hasn't already done so. 

Sure, Goulding turned out not to be the role model he was in his early years butthat is no reason to deny him humanitarian  concern.

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1 hour ago, JohnM said:

 Having lost both father in law and mother in law to dementia (Alzheimer’s disease in one case, vascular dementia in the other) I can testify to the toll it takes on relatives and carers and that's where the support needs to be targetted. 

Doctor Alzheimer gave his name to the disease in 1906. I`d be curious to know what the average age of his patients was. The figures for life expectancy in 1900 were 47 for a man, 50 for a woman. These are a little distorted by childhood mortality rates, but by the 1930s when death in childhood was far less common the average life expectancy was around 60.

When someone dies from Alzheimer`s today, in many cases they would have died sooner from another disease in previous eras. Possibly something more unpleasant and painful. The "toll it takes on relatives and carers" is probably the most significant distinguishing factor.

Looking down the NHS list of early symptoms of Alzheimer`s, they just seem to be descriptions of our brains not working as well as they did when we were younger. These are bound to be more common now as a result of medical science keeping our bodies healthier for longer.

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On 28/10/2021 at 16:18, Wakefield Ram said:

 but most of all they've got to eradicate tackles above the shoulder like RU has done. I ref RU at a junior level and when it came in, I thought it was a bit over the top. But after a couple of seasons, players adjust and no players are asking to go back to the old rules. 

There is no downside to stamping out head tackles and grapple tackles. Any pro player who can't learn how to tackle below the neck will be finding another job. 

Every tackle with a lower contact area carries a higher risk to the tackler. A bang on the head from a ball-carrier`s hip or knee is no less likely to cause concussion than the tackler`s arm slipping up to the ball-carrier`s head. I would argue more likely.

And there are far more front-on tackles in RL than RU.

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Story from Down Under -

"Carlton could soon become the first club to routinely scan the brains of all AFL and AFLW players at least twice a year in an effort to create a safer working environment".

This in the context of a concussion damages pay-out to a young West Coast Eagles player who suffered extensive injuries in a "sickening collision" in 2019. There`s reference in the article to a need for "baseline testing" which would make a causal link easier to subsequently establish.

However, what will happen if something is discovered by a scan? Will the player be told they can no longer play and have their contract ripped up? Could they only play on if they signed a waiver, possibly for less money?

All these developments might not go well for current and future professional players in contact sports.

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10 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Every tackle with a lower contact area carries a higher risk to the tackler. A bang on the head from a ball-carrier`s hip or knee is no less likely to cause concussion than the tackler`s arm slipping up to the ball-carrier`s head. I would argue more likely.

And there are far more front-on tackles in RL than RU.

But we are not into arguing these points, we are into having hard facts to consider so administrators, coaches and players can mitigate the risks as much as possible. 

What we do know is there are more ways to suffer head knocks than just effecting a tackle and we do know that the RFL coaching scheme teaches tacklers and ball carriers the correct positioning skills to reduce impacts.  

We also know that semi and full time pro teams effect collisions and tackling in a totally different way many times.  The issues and answers lie in between what RL ‘learners’ are taught and what semi & pro players are taught together with administrators rule changes.

 

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I'm not aware of rugby players being encouraged to use their heads when tackling, and as we know head high shots have always been penalised. In RU scrummaging sessions seem to have been a problem, Carl Hayman has been diagnosed recently with dementia. And S Thompson said he once had a crazy training day at Northampton where the coach got them to do 100 scrums in one session. The added problem for Thompson was he was very tall for a hooker and I would assume he would have received more contact with the head than most hooker. 

As has been said, NFL players were apparently coached to use the head when tackling. I've seen diagrams for this tackling technique.

Newcastle Knights

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  • 2 weeks later...

Currently on BBC Radio 4, Law in action is looking at a lawsuit from players of both codes of Rugby: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0011lf9

"Joshua Rozenberg places under the microscope a controversial lawsuit aimed at the governing bodies of rugby. Players diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, believed to be the result of repeated concussions, claim the sport neglected their duty of care. Did they?"

If listening on catch-up, it is in the first part of the programme.

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  • John Drake changed the title to Concussion (Merged Threads)

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