The world of rugby league was rocked this morning when it was revealed that a number of former stars – including legend Bobbie Goulding – were heading a lawsuit case against the Rugby Football League.
They will claim that the RFL failed in its duty of care to protect them from the risks associated with concussions and sub-concussions.
Their lawyer, Richard Boardman of Rylands Legal, said he is representing 50 former professional rugby league players aged from 20 to 50 all of whom are showing symptoms of potential neurological complications.
Boardman has since spoken out about why he is going ahead with such a move alongside the players.
The vast majority of the former players we represent love the game and don’t want to see it harmed in any way,” Boardman said.
“They just want to make it safer so current and future generations don’t end up like them. Younger players such as Stevie Ward, Rob Burrow and Sam Burgess have spoken publicly about their own brain damage, so these issues aren’t restricted to older generations.
“This is why we’re asking the RFL to make a number of immediate, relatively low-cost changes to save the sport, such as limiting contact in training and extending the return to play (after concussion).”
But, this move has rankled a number of current and past rugby league players who have said that they knew the danger of the sport when they first signed up to play in their teens.
Former Huddersfield Giants star Chris Thorman was one such player.
I wouldn’t wish ill health on anyone & I can only speak for myself, but I absolutely understood the risks I was taking when playing the sport that has given me a wage since I was 16 years old. https://t.co/LjFskMEtjA
— Chris Thorman (@Chris_Thorman6) October 27, 2021
Ex-Halifax and Castleford Tigers halfback Ben Johnston also got in on the act.
Absolute 🔔 ends https://t.co/NbMBQnRFKs
— Ben Johnston (@Ben_Johnston92) October 27, 2021
One fan summed up the feeling perfectly.
So they engage in a sport where there is a chance of getting concussion? 🤷♂️
Don’t want to put yourself at risk, don’t play the game….. 🤷♂️
— Dave (@davsExt) October 27, 2021
That sentiment was echoed by more.
How you going to sue the league that enabled your dream of playing the sport you love professionally and blame them for the nature of the game itself
— ÆDro1d #Worlds2021 (@AsHDro1d) October 27, 2021
Another laughed at comparisons that could be made between sports.
I heard a bunch of tennis players are planning to sue the ITF for suffering with tennis elbow, and a few beach volleyball players are also planning to sue because they got sand in their eyes.
— Kain Watson (@kainlukewatson) October 27, 2021