A group of former American footballers are suing the NFL over the league’s handling of concussion-related injuries. It is the first potential class action lawsuit of its kind in the USA. The lawsuits accuse the NFL of negligence and intentional misconduct in its response to the headaches, dizziness and dementia that former players have reported. The former players seek damages and financial assistance to help pay for their future medical care. The Plaintiffs include a Super Bowl quarter back champion, Jim McMahon, who claims that he played through five concussions and now frequently walks around “in a daze”
“Many Irish rugby and GAA players have suffered similar injuries” said Liam Moloney, a Personal Injuries Solicitor. “Sports injury litigation is not common in Ireland as Courts have tended to hold that there is a voluntary assumption of risk involved in these sports. However, there is a precedent case when, in 2003 damages were awarded to a rugby player who was left paralysed after a scrum collapsed in a Welsh club game. The Welsh Rugby Union admitted its responsibility for the match referee’s failure to opt for uncontested scrums, which caused the collapse”
The Court held “if a side is forced to field players without experience in the front row of a scrum the referee should allow uncontested scrums – therefore reducing the risk of injury”. This was the first time an amateur referee in any sport has been held liable for injuries in an adult amateur game and its ruling appears to impose a positive duty of care for players on the field. The Welsh Rugby Union were also found liable for the referees actions.
Mr Moloney continued “the GAA and the IRFU will be monitoring closely the outcome of this litigation in the USA. Many people who play rugby, football and hurling receive injuries each year. Many of these injuries are minor but in some cases where serious injuries are suffered they may be caused, or contributed to by negligence on the part of officials or local clubs. Referees could be liable if they do not act promptly in the interests of player safety, including ensuring that playing surfaces are safe and that light conditions are appropriate, particularly for winter games”.
He added “players who sustain serious injuries can require ongoing medical treatments which can be very expensive. Many seriously injured players are not compensated properly under their respective insurance schemes which leaves them financially strapped. Irish Sporting Bodies should be aware of the potential for an increase in injury litigation claims”
For further information contact:
Liam Moloney, Solicitor
Tel: 045 898000