Rugby Union: Cudmore, Hayman … former players are preparing to appear in French justice for concussions

Former rugby players who played in France are preparing to file legal proceedings against the national bodies of this sport, accused of breaches of their security and information obligations about concussions, informed this Wednesday AFP with their lawyers.

This meeting procedure of the French Federation (FFR) and the League (LNR)which echoes that brought in December 2020 by a hundred former rugby players against World Rugby and the English and Welsh Federations, is “a first in France”according to Nino Arnaud, lawyer at the Marseille bar, confirming information from the sports daily L’Equipe.

Among these fifteen former players who played in the French championships between 2003 and 2022, presenting the Canadian internationals Jamie Cudmore and New Zealanders Carl Haymanalready at the origin of the collective procedure initiated in the United Kingdom, the amateur hooker Quentin Garcia or the second line of Rennes Sarah Chlagou.

In a letter translated on November 18 to the FFR and the LNR, of which AFP has read, Me Arnaud and his partner at the Paris bar, Foucauld Prache, announce that they must file against these two bodies. “responsibility action” before the Administrative Court of Paris.

According to them, “the occurrence of the various disorders affecting” their clients, such as permanent brain injury, dementia praecox, post-traumatic epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease or depression, “could have been interrupted”or at least reduced, if the FFR and the LNR, organizers of competitions in France, “had fulfilled their respective obligations of security, prudence, diligence and information”.

“One day or another, we will no longer be able to play rugby as we currently practice it”

“What they all want is for rugby to remain rugby and for it not to go to its own ruin: because if we continue like this to deny the seriousness of the phenomenon, one day or another, we will no longer be able to play rugby as we currently practice it”explained Me Arnaud to AFP.

“The health of players, amateurs and professionals is the priority of French rugby authorities. Many actions, often cited as exemplary, have been undertaken for years at international and national level to detect, reduce and manage concussions”reacted to the FFR and the LNR in a joint statement sent to AFP.

“The FFR, the LNR and World Rugby have been working on these issues for years with the utmost seriousness. The players’ approach, which has long been initiated before other bodies, is of a legal nature. The FFR and the LNR take note of this process and will take the action they deem legitimate”they add.

According to a recent study by a team from the University of Glasgow, former international rugby players are two and a half times more likely than the general population to develop neurodegenerative diseases.

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