Should play­ers have t he right t o pri­vacy over in­juries?

Rugby World - - FR ON T RO W -


Put your­self in a player’s shoes. Would you like your med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion read­ily

avail­able to the pub­lic, as well as any po­ten­tial fu­ture em­ploy­ers? If you have a his­tory of back prob­lems, do you want that in­for­ma­tion read­ily avail­able when you’re ap­ply­ing for a man­ual labour job? The an­swer is a re­sound­ing

no. And you know it. Conor Mur­ray re­cently fol­lowed in the foot­steps of Jamie Heaslip by keep­ing

his med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion pri­vate. Yes, I’m sure it’s a lit­tle frus­trat­ing for Ir­ish and Mun­ster fans not know­ing when one of their star play­ers will re­turn. But the player has a lot more to lose. Heaslip has brought ac­tion against two

in­sur­ance com­pa­nies be­cause of his is­sues. Johnny Sex­ton’s had prob­lems get­ting in­sur­ance cover be­cause of a con­cus­sion stigma that hangs over him.

Buy­ing tick­ets and mer­chan­dise for your club does not give you the right to ac­cess some­one’s pri­vate records. Be­ing in the me­dia doesn’t en­ti­tle you to over­step doc­tor-pa­tient con­fi­den­tial­ity. If a player or club wants to be trans­par­ent that’s fine. If they don’t, then so be it.

And it’s not an ex­cuse to spec­u­late.


It’s best to be hon­est about in­juries or it gen­er­ates so many ru­mours. All the cloak-and-dagger mes­sages lead to in­creased spec­u­la­tion. It can ac­tu­ally be­come a big­ger story than sim­ply say­ing the player has a ham­string tear. Look at all the sto­ries around Conor Mur­ray’s long pe­riod on the side­lines. If there had been a clear state­ment about his in­jury, all the con­tro­versy would have been avoided.

Play­ers have said in­juries are be­ing mis­re­ported and that this has caused prob­lems in­sur­ance-wise, but if the me­dia were given ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion it wouldn’t have hap­pened.

The IRFU re­ceives money from Sport Ire­land, tax­pay­ers’ money, so surely Ir­ish peo­ple de­serve to know what the in­jury sit­u­a­tion is with star play­ers. It’s the same with sports clubs on the stock mar­ket – a long-term in­jury to a key player could af­fect the club’s value.

Fans pay de­cent money to watch rugby and want to know who will be play­ing.

We’re not ask­ing for play­ers’ GP records or a de­tailed med­i­cal his­tory, but in­juries that will keep them out of ac­tion and stop them do­ing their job.

There’s plenty of bark in this team com­piled by Greg and Zach Noble from Sh­effield. Send your Al­ter­na­tive XV to

rug­by­worldlet­[email protected]­dia.com



Jack Rus­sell

Ir­ish Wolfhound

Great Dane

Bor­der Col­lie

Golden Re­triever



St Bernard


West High­land Ter­rier

Ger­man Shep­herd


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