When a group of ex-rugby league players decided to launch their own concussion lawsuit against the Rugby Football League (RFL), the sport’s fraternity sat back in horror.
Whilst sympathy for the recently-diagnosed dementia sufferer Bobbie Goulding was widespread, the decision to sue the governing body over alleged concussion negligence didn’t go down well with the majority of supporters as well as a number of ex-players too.
The likes of former Leeds Rhinos stars Brett Delaney and Chev Walker, ex-Super League fullback Richie Mathers and former Huddersfield Giants halfback Chris Thorman all gave an impassioned explanation of their decision to play rugby league and accept the consequences.
Former Super League referee Ian Smith was coy about the matter, although he did reveal that injuries from playing led to him taking up the whistle instead.
“I feel really sorry for those players experiencing those long term brain injuries and I’ve read a lot on Twitter from both current and ex players and it’s a topic I’d rather not get into,” Smith told Serious About Rugby League.
“I took up refereeing because I didn’t want to get any more injuries as an amateur player.”
Smith revealed that the injuries inadvertently cost him money.
“They weren’t major to be honest – just collar bone, ribs, cheek bone and fingers but it kept me off work so cost me money.
“I always wanted to get into refereeing so a broken rib made my mind up for me.”
Where this issue goes from here, nobody is really sure, but if continued, it will certainly a whole can of worms – not just for rugby league, but for all sport.