Three former players take legal action against the IRFU

Proceedings were initiated by David Corkery, Declan Fitzpatrick and Ben Marshall yesterday
Three former players take legal action against the IRFU

David Corkery, Munster, is tackled by Benjamin L'hande, Colomiers in the European Rugby Cup in 2019 

Three rugby players are taking legal action against the IRFU in the High Court in what are believed to be concussion-related cases.

Proceedings were initiated by David Corkery, Declan Fitzpatrick and Ben Marshall yesterday, The Currency reported this morning.

The three former players are being represented by Dublin firm Maguire McClafferty.

Last year the firm announced it was handling a raft of concussion-related cases in cooperation with UK firm Rylands Legal UK.

It said then: “We act for a number of retired professional rugby players, all of whom have played for both Province and Country. Further cases are coming forward on a regular basis.

“It is expected that these proceedings will be opposed by the rugby authorities within this jurisdiction and may therefore take some time to be resolved.

“Needless to say, the identities of the players involved remains completely confidential and will not be disclosed unless and until proceedings are issued.”

The first players have now been named, as proceedings have been initiated. 

Former Munster star David Corkery played 27 times for Ireland between 1994 and 1999. Earlier this year, Corkery told Rugbypass he worried about headaches and the repercussions of concussions suffered during his career. 

“Some of the results that have come back have not been great. I really worry about it, the head. When I played, I had no respect for my body. I got knocked out. I woke up and a few seconds later I was playing again.

“That’s not right. That shouldn’t have been the case. Yeah – you can say, ‘that’s the way it was’. True. But it’s not the way it should have been. We should have been better advised."

Former Ulster and Ireland prop Declan Fitzpatrick retired in 2015 due to concussions he suffered during his final seasons in the game. 

He said then: "The two significant concussions were obviously the main problems. 

“I had a couple of bangs in succession, and to be honest, I didn’t rest fully. It was all about me wanting to play for Ireland."

Ben Marshall played for Leinster and Connacht between 2010 and 2017, when he was forced to retire due to concussions suffered during his career.

The IRFU have issued a statement in response to this morning's news.

"People in rugby have been moved by the personal accounts of former players as reported in the media.

"Player welfare is of paramount importance to the IRFU and we are constantly reviewing safety protocols for all players.

"Our approach, based on scientific evidence, involves a commitment to ongoing education, monitoring and application of safety protocols across the game, including proactively managing elite player game time with a focus on injury prevention and oversight.

"As this is a legal matter it would be inappropriate to comment on these cases directly, which will now be handled by our insurers."

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