Long term or serious injuries caused by sport

Neille Ryan

Partner & Head of Personal Injury

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July 27, 2022

Categories Personal Injury Claims

I’m very interested to see that the Football Association have announced a trial ban on heading in matches at and below under 12 level.

Participants in contact sports like rugby and football, especially at elite level, are being increasingly linked with brain functioning diseases such as dementia.

Governing body awareness of the increased incidence of brain functioning disease in certain contact sports such as rugby, football and American football is rapidly developing.

It’s equally significant, in my view, that rugby governing bodies seem to be moving slower than in football, and a number of ex rugby union and league players, believed to be approaching 200 in total, are bringing legal actions against rugby’s governing bodies.

The significance of protective measures being taken in these sports at junior levels is that the consequences of head trauma in these sports doesn’t reveal itself for decades, so steps taken in the early years are intended to be preventative of problems in later life.

Although recent publicity surrounds sustained head trauma, there are of course plenty of instances of head or other injuries being suffered in a single sporting incident.

Where court proceedings are brought then history has proven it to be a difficult balancing act for a judge, to weigh the clear health benefits of sporting participation against the host organisation’s duty to weigh the risks and take steps to ensure reasonable care for the health and safety of participants.

But what is reasonable is changing as guidance from sports governing bodies is amended – I refer back to the trial ban on heading in under 12s football matches.

As someone who played competitive football at a school, university and local league level for about 35 years, I can honestly say that to the very best of my recollection the possibility of head trauma or long term brain functioning consequences was never mentioned, yet as more and more studies are produced, there is now a much greater awareness at every level of the dangers.

As a proud member of Headway’s Solicitors Panel I support their  Concussion Aware Campaign.  While relatively minor sporting injuries are common place and often unavoidable, I do urge anyone who has been diagnosed with a longer term or serious injury, whether head or otherwise, to seek legal advice from a specialist accredited by reputable organisations like The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Headway (the brain injury association).

Contact Neille Ryan on 01227 763939 for legal advice on long-term or serious personal injury claims.

Neille Ryan

Neille Ryan is a Partner and Head of Personal Injury team. Neille is a Fellow and an Accredited Specialist of APIL, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and on the solicitors’ panel of Headway, the brain injury association.

Headway, the brain injury association


Headway’s mission is to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. In addition, Headway will campaign to reduce the incidence of brain injury.

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)


The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has been fighting for the rights of injured people for over 30 years. A not-for-profit campaign organisation, APIL’s 2,900 member lawyers (mainly solicitors, barristers and legal executives) are dedicated to protecting and enhancing access to justice, improving the services provided for victims of personal injury, and campaigning to change the law wherever appropriate. Over the years APIL has grown to become the leading, most respected organisation in this field, constantly working to promote and develop expertise in the practise of personal injury law, for the benefit of injured people.