Concussion in sport: The government response and what the next round might look like

We recently passed the first anniversary of the letter of claim on behalf of former international rugby union players alleging that negligence of the sport’s authorities (World Rugby, the RFU and Wales Rugby) caused or contributed to their neurodegenerative symptoms and diagnoses. I expect unwittingly, it coincided with the government’s publication of its formal response to the Digital Culture Media and Sport Select Committee’s (DCMSSC) July 2021 report ‘Concussion in Sport’. In the body of this blog I’ll examine the response and look at possible future developments related to head injuries in professional and amateur sport.

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Concussion in sport: They thought it was all over… is it now?

On 27 April, the Digital Media Culture and Sport Select Committee (DMCSSC) reconvened for a third oral hearing to address concussion in sport, the recording of which can be accessed here.  Originally planned to be a two hearing process, this latest session appears to have been convened at the request of the witnesses. Their evidence was taken in two panel sessions, the first involving player representatives:

  • Damian Hopley MBE, Chief Executive at The Rugby Players Association
  • Paul Struthers, Director at Professional Players Federation
  • Gordon Taylor OBE, Chief Executive at Professional Footballers Association

and the second involving specialist clinicians:

  • Dr John Etherington CBE, Medical Director & Consultant Rheumatologist at Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK
  • Dr Richard Sylvester, Consultant Neurologist at Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health
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Concussion in sport: experts discuss science, spending and state intervention with MPs

The Digital Media Culture and Sports Select Committee (DMCSSC) opened its inquiry into “concussion in sport” in a hybrid meeting on 9 March, hearing from clinical experts and interested charities. In an informed discussion, topics of medical causation, informed choice, funding of research and state intervention in personal freedoms were considered and are touched on in the body of this piece. For those unable to watch the hearing live, the recording can be accessed here.

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