Land­mark study could help fight for com­pen­sa­tion

Re­search gives vic­tims im­por­tant ev­i­dence and may trig­ger Nfl-style fi­nan­cial claims in UK

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - Ipek Tugcu LE­GAL EXPERT Ipek Tugcu is an as­so­ciate so­lic­i­tor at the brain in­jury team at Bolt Bur­don Kemp

The Univer­sity of Glas­gow’s study is of huge sig­nif­i­cance in foot­ball’s lon­grun­ning his­tory with brain in­jury. The fact that neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease was listed as the pri­mary or con­trib­u­tory cause of death among so many for­mer play­ers is stag­ger­ing. The links are known and foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing bod­ies have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the play­ers. If they do not now act, they will leave them­selves vul­ner­a­ble to le­gal claims.

The law is clear and foot­ball is no dif­fer­ent to any other em­ploy­erem­ployee re­la­tion­ship. If your em­ployer knows of a risk that can be mit­i­gated and takes no rea­son­able ac­tion to rem­edy it, you are look­ing at le­gal re­dress.

Com­pen­sa­tion is cal­cu­lated on the ex­tent of in­jury and fi­nan­cial loss caused by the neg­li­gence. If it is some­one in the mid­dle of their ca­reer, in­jured be­cause of fail­ings that should have been pre­vented, you could be look­ing at com­pen­sa­tion to cover loss of earn­ings, treat­ment, private care and adapted ac­com­mo­da­tion.

It is this knowl­edge of the risk which is crit­i­cal. Foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing bod­ies can­not say, “We did not know, there were no sta­tis­tics or re­search” and that is why this is a turn­ing point. There are time lim­its on when you can sue some­one. It would be im­por­tant to con­sider what in­for­ma­tion was known, or ought to have been known, at the time. This would in­clude ev­i­dence such as warn­ings from doc­tors.

On the ba­sis of the over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence, I do not think we are far off the sit­u­a­tion in the United States where sig­nif­i­cant le­gal claims have been set­tled by the Na­tional Foot­ball League.

No­body is say­ing any in­ci­dence of head in­jury is a le­gal claim. We ac­cept there will be in­juries – how­ever, more needs to be done. Foot­ball can make fur­ther rea­son­able ad­just­ments which would pro­tect the au­then­tic­ity of the sport. This could in­clude re­duc­ing prac­tis­ing head­ers, and im­prov­ing con­cus­sion pro­to­cols.

For this to work, any changes must be ap­plied glob­ally. For foot­ballers, this is their job and they should be safe­guarded.

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