Steve Thompson played 73 times for England
Rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson and seven other former players claim to have suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the sport – and are now suing the management of the game for negligence.
Each member of the group has recently been diagnosed with early signs of dementia and is believed to have been guilty of repeated blows to the head.
Thompson, 42, played every game in England when they won the 2003 World Cup, but he says he played every game: I don’t remember any of these games. It’s scary.
Next week a letter will be sent to the governing bodies asking for millions of pounds in compensation for English and Welsh rugby and world rugby, possibly followed by a class action.
This is the first legal step of its kind in the world of rugby and, if successful, it can lead to a change in your style of play.
The class advisor assumes that a further 80 former players between the ages of 25 and 55 are symptomatic and seriously worried.
World rugby said sport: Without resorting to speculation, world rugby takes player safety very seriously and implements injury prevention strategies based on the latest knowledge, research and discoveries.
In response to the information that a trial had been scheduled, the Rugby Football Union stated that it refused to comment because it had no formal or informal approach and no legal documentation was provided.
The Welsh Rugby Union has also received a reply.
The memories of theWorld Championship are just gone – Thompson.
Former prostitute Thompson played for the Northampton Saints 195 times before he left for France to play for Brive. In his nine-year international career he won 73 English caps and three British and Irish lions.
He retired for the first time in 2007 due to a serious neck injury, but was allowed to return and had to retire again in December 2011 with the same problem.
Thompson, former teammate of England Michael Lipman, former international Alice Pofam and five other players who were eliminated are the first group to accept and pass the test.
Thompson says his condition has progressed so far that he can’t remember anything about the 2003 World Cup.
It’s like watching a game with England and seeing myself there – but I wasn’t there because I wasn’t there, he said.
It’s just weird. People talk about stories, and after the World Cup I talked to the guys who were there and you pick up the stories and then you can talk about it, but I don’t, I don’t do it because it just stopped.
Thompson is convinced that constant blows to the head during races and training sessions are responsible for this situation.
When we started working full-time in the mid-1990s, the training quickly changed to full contact, he said.
There was one session where the contractions weren’t quite right and we had to do a hundred live. In the end, we were like a piece of meat, really.
We’re doing all this to take care of the young soccer players coming onto the pitch. I don’t want the rugby to stop. He could give us so much, but we just want to make it safe. It could end so soon, and suddenly your whole life is ahead of you.
Thompson, who has four children, talks openly about his fears for the future and reveals some dark thoughts.
If you’re there alone, how many times do you think you’ll feel better if you leave when I’m gone, he said.
They’re starting to think it’s wrong to let her go through this. It’s a complicated site.
I don’t want to be a burden to my family. – Pofam.
What is CTE and how can it be diagnosed?
The eight players who have progressed so far have all been diagnosed by neurologists at King’s College London with early onset dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE is a disease that Dr. Bennett Omalu discovered on American footballer Mike Webster, and the subject of the film Shock with Will Smith. In 2011, a group of former US football players filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL and reached a settlement agreement worth approximately US$1 billion (£700 million).
TEC can develop when the brain is exposed to many small strokes or rapid movements – sometimes called subconsciousness – and is associated with symptoms such as memory loss, depression and progressive dementia.
The disease can only be diagnosed in the brain after death, but some experts believe that an assessment of the history of exposure leads to the conclusion that the risk increases. The embryonic nature of science in this field can play a key role in the success or failure of a common cause.
It has been found in the minds of dozens of former NFL players and a handful of dead players, including former Albion West Bromwich and Englishman Jeff Astle. A new examination of his brain in 2014 showed that he died of CTE.
Sub-contacts cannot be detected either on site or during a post-match inspection.
Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University is a leading neurologist in the field of CTE and has played an important role in the transformation of the NFL.
In sport, you and others face skepticism from those who believe that more research is needed before any further changes can be made.
There’s obviously a problem, she says.
We don’t know the extent of the problem, but as long as we insist it doesn’t exist, we’ll never get to the bottom of it.
We just reject it, expand it and make sure as many rugby players as possible receive the CWC.
How do you prove a claim?
If a case goes to court, the group has to prove that the administrative bodies are guilty of negligence.
Richard Boardman, of the law firm Ryland, is running the campaign.
According to him, we now find ourselves in a situation where we believe that world leaders are responsible for the lack of adequate protection of their actors on this particular issue.
Depending on the number of people, this can cost tens or even hundreds of millions.
We currently represent more than 100 former players, but we expect many more to contact us.
Dr. Willie Stewart, who with his team at the University of Glasgow has done research on dementia in football, thinks there is a problem with the rugby alliance.
If you look at the data of all sports in all regions, whether it’s football, rugby or American football, I’ve probably looked at the brains of people in all those different sports.
The difficulty we have is to gather enough experience from former rugby players to be able to say that with confidence, but I think it would be foolish to ignore it.
The issue of concussion in sport has been discussed extensively in recent years. The link between football and degenerative brain diseases has even led to a change in the rules at the youth level.
In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland children under the age of 11 are no longer allowed to wear the ball during training. There are also restrictions on the frequency of wages in the higher age categories.
Following the recent death of English world champion Nobby Stiles and the news that his teammate and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton from 1966 is suffering from the disease, former top professionals have called for further research and improvement in player welfare.
Here you will find more information about dementia and contact details of organisations that can help you.