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NRL – Investigation into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and concussion in Rugby League players

2nd July 2019

Preventable Brain Concussion Injuries: Law firms investigate class action for Professional Rugby League players

The Sydney Morning Herald has recently (on 27 June 2019) revealed evidence that several Australian rugby league players suffered the degenerative brain condition commonly found in retired American NFL athletes and other high impact sports, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  There is concern this was caused by incidents of concussion received during the playing of the sport, and that the rules of the game did not take or implement reasonable precautions to protect player safety from concussion. There were two aspects to this. First, whether the rules took sufficient steps to protect players against concussion incidents. Second, whether the rules and safety protocols were actually implemented properly to provide a safe playing environment against concussion events and to allow players time to recover from concussion incidents without sustaining permanent injury.

Bannister Law & Cahill Lawyers have been conducting joint investigations into this very issue for 12 months, exploring the root causes of post-retirement medical issues among numerous former NRL players.  Many of the symptoms experienced by these players are consistent with CTE.

Principal of Bannister Law, Charles Bannister said “the structures that have evolved within the NRL through the progression of the game, mean that we are looking at the clubs’ and associations’ liability for what are, we will allege, reasonably preventable brain injuries.”

“We will also allege that ARL, NRL and the clubs have had the resources both medical and paramedical to understand and implement protocols and policies that could and should have protected player welfare long before they were introduced,” said Mr Bannister.

Thomas Cahill, Director of Cahill Lawyers, said the two law firms have been in contact with many senior players over an extended period, all of whom have serious concerns about their brain health.

“We would encourage any players or former players who fear that repeated head blows have caused them ongoing issues, to register at www.bannisterlaw.com.au,” said Mr Cahill.

The discovery of CTE was immortalised in the Netflix movie Concussion staring Will Smith.

“Concussion should be mandatory viewing for NRL players both current and retired. It will help them understand many of the symptoms of CTE but also the organisational resistance that can exist in facing up to the problem. Players’ welfare ought to be paramount” said Mr Cahill.

Both law firms have a long history of protecting those persons disadvantaged through injury or illness.

Please register your details below.

We are interested to hear from both retired and current players.