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Vickery and Henson join list of legends in major concussion lawsuit against World Rugby

1st December, 2023
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1st December, 2023
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Phil Vickery, who played in England’s 2003 World Cup final win in Australia, and former Wales and British and Irish Lions star Gavin Henson have been revealed to be among nearly 300 former rugby players suing three governing bodies over neurological injuries.

Their names were revealed on Friday in a case at London’s High Court which involves 295 former rugby union players suing World Rugby, England’s Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union for allegedly failing to put in place reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of players.

Fellow World Cup winner Steve Thompson and former Wales captain Ryan Jones had already been named as being part of the case.

It’s now been revealed to also involve players like Wales and Lions forward Colin Charvis, Sean Lamont, who won over 100 caps for Scotland, and Mark Regan, another member of England’s 2003 squad and a 2007 World Cup finalist.

The claimants range in age from 80 to 22 years old, according to the list provided by law firm Rylands Garth on Friday.

The list was released after a judge ruled the former players must wait until next year for their application for a group litigation order (GLO) – which would mean the individual lawsuits can be managed together – to be determined.

Judge Jeremy Cook also said there was currently a “gaping hole” in the evidence provided by the claimants.

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World Rugby, the WRU and the RFU said in a joint statement after Friday’s hearing: “Whilst today’s case management hearing was necessarily about legal process, we must not forget about the people and players at the heart of this case.

“Legal action prevents us reaching out to support the players involved, many of whom are named publicly for the first time today.

“But we want them to know that we care deeply about their struggles, that we are listening and that they are members of the rugby family.”

The statement added: “Player welfare is rugby’s top priority and will continue to be our top priority. Rugby is committed to leading the welfare agenda in sport, driven by evolving science and research to protect and support players at all levels.”

The claimants’ lawyer Susan Rodway earlier said in court filings that the defendants “ought to have known of the likelihood of long-term neurological complications due to cumulative concussive or sub-concussive blows to the head”.

This alleged failure is said to have caused disorders such as motor neurone disease, early onset dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

She added that some of the individual cases, where players are suing for loss of earnings and the cost of future care, could be valued “well into the tens of millions” of pounds”.

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