Live

LIVE: OTB Football Saturday

03:00 PM-05:00 PM

LIVE: OTB Football Saturday
Advertisement

Sport

World Cup winner among group suing rugby authorities for brain damage

Former England international Steve Thompson is among a group of ex-players suing rugby union auth...



Former England international Steve Thompson is among a group of ex-players suing rugby union authorities for negligence. 

The 2003 World Cup-winner and seven others claim the sport has left them with permanent brain damage.

All eight have been diagnosed with early stages of dementia, with the blame laid at repeated blows taken to the head whilst playing rugby.

In an interview with The Guardian, Thompson says he remembers nothing of England's World Cup triumph in Australia in 2003.

While working on a job, the 42-year old was being shown footage from the tournament.

"And it was as if I was watching England play now. Except I was there," he said, "But I can’t remember at all being there. Honestly, I don’t know scores from any of the games."

Much like professional football, it appears rugby is facing its own reckoning with dementia.

In recent years, tackle heights have been lowered and efforts made to protect players' heads from collisions but Thompson says it's all too late for his generation.

He says he's suffered from increased bouts of anxiety, and now often forgets his wife's name, "I could look at Steph sometimes. And she says it’s like I’m a complete blank. And she’ll go: ‘I’m Steph.’

"The name’s gone. Gone."

The BBC report that a letter of claim will be sent to the RFU and WRU, as well as World Rugby, seeking millions of euro in damages.

It's suggested a further 80 players aged between 25 and 55 are showing symptoms of dementia and are raising concerns.

Thompson is angry with the RFU in England and the Rugby Players’ Association, believing they should be doing more on behalf of players.

"I don’t want to kill the game. I want it regulated," he told The Guardian.

Thompson believes players should be made to take a brain scan before embarking on a new season.

"Every year you drive your car you get an MOT," he said, "The body’s exactly the same thing.

"If it’s not working, you shouldn’t be doing your job.

"It sounds awful, because lads are going to have to retire at 22 or 23. But trust me, it’s better finishing then than to be where I am now."

MONDAY NIGHT RUGBY | Keith Wood | Ireland win over Scotland, Rugby needs fans, Sexton v Media

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OTB Sports's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

2003 Rugby World Cup Brain Damage Dementia England Steve Thompson World Cup

Live: Title

Description

Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share

Next up in queue

Title
Description
Duration

There are currently no podcasts in the queue

Go to podcasts

On Air

LIVE: OTB Football Saturday

LIVE: OTB Football Saturday

03:00 PM-05:00 PM

Share

Up next

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

05:00 PM-12:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

05:00 AM-07:00 AM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

07:00 AM-01:00 PM

Share

Live: Sunday Paper Review

Live: Sunday Paper Review

01:00 PM-02:00 PM

Share

LIVE: OTB Weekend

LIVE: OTB Weekend

02:00 PM-07:00 PM

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on