Concussion and Brain Injury in Contact Sport: Legal Implications

Jack Anderson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


A concussed participant leaving the field of play is one of the most worrying sights in sport. It is also one that might have serious legal implications for sports governing bodies. Over the past number of years, a major class action suit has rumbled through the US courts as taken against that country's biggest professional sport, the National Football League. The NFL is at present attempting to settle the lawsuit from more than 4,500 retired players who claim that the NFL knew for decades about the chronic health risks associated with cumulative concussions in American football but failed to warn players or take preventative steps. Testimony from retired NFL players has revealed stories of chronic headaches, Alzheimer-like forgetfulness, altered personalities and sometimes a downward spiral into depression, violence and suicide. Medical research is suggesting that professional American football players are three times more likely to die as a result of certain neurodegenerative diseases than the general population. This paper notes that the concerns about concussion are not confined to the NFL and extend to contact sport more widely and notably rugby union. This paper also assesses the reaction of leading sports governing bodies globally to the recorded medical risks and accompanying legal vulnerabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 02 Apr 2015
EventSocio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference - University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Mar 201502 Apr 2015


ConferenceSocio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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