Contact Sports Injuries

4 minute read

Written by

Most of us enjoy sport in one way or another be it by participating in it or by watching it. As with most physical activities there is always a danger of getting hurt when taking part in it and some sports are more dangerous than others.

With sports associations becoming more organised and aware of the risks associated with the sport they govern, a lot more rules have been introduced in recent years to prevent serious injury but certain sports remain more likely to cause injury than others.

A good example are sports like football and rugby where no matter how many rules we introduce, body contact is unavoidable and so are collisions. With the football World Cup being at full swing at the moment we have taken the opportunity to look at both of these sports and compare the way they mitigate risks associated with playing them.

Football vs Rugby

World Rugby, the international governing body of rugby worldwide has recently introduced a number of rules to make rugby safer for professional and amateur players alike. As the sport warrants itself to not only scrapes and sprains but also to serious head injuries, the new rules introduced in July 2022 have been put in place to reduce injuries at all levels. This has been a really welcome development for the sport as the only ways of limiting the injuries associated with it is to review the rules around the key contact points in game (tackles, entering the ruck and maul actions) and make them safer. As things stand today, players are not allowed to make any head contact applied with force at the penalty of receiving a red card or any high or neck tackles that will land them a yellow card. Several years ago spear tackles had been made illegal as they often result into players falling head down at high speed and can result in spinal cord injuries.

Football on the other hand has not seen an update in its rules for a really long time. Even though the sport is considered less dangerous, the potential for incurring serious head injuries is still high especially in those cases where multiple players try to reach the ball with their heads. Recently in the England vs Iran World Cup Game we saw the Iranian goalkeeper having suffered a head injury being kept on the pitch and not removed for a medical check. That is because in football players need to be formally subbed out in order to leave the pitch to attend to a medical examination or their team needs to continue playing without them until their return. That means that injured players are more likely to stay on the pitch for longer as there are limited opportunities for switching over players throughout the game. When it comes to rugby the rules are very different as a potentially injured player can be temporarily replaced to allow them to get tested for a concussion. In fact getting tested is mandatory and the affected player can only return to the pitch if the result of their test is negative.

One of the reasons for this is that rugby players have historically downplayed their injuries to hide that they are suffering from an injury affecting their performance so if the game administrators didn’t introduce rules enabling them to leave the pitch for testing and return they would be more likely to continue playing putting themselves in danger.

In both sports there is a medical duty of care around monitoring and checking the players to ensure they are in good health and able to continue playing but reality is that the two sports have a very different approach to what is acceptable and the ways they enforce it.

Grassroot & amateur sport

Even though all rules introduced for professional sport should also apply to amateur players, a significant  challenge in enforcing them is posed by the lack of funding and resource to ensure medical support and screening is available to players. With both sports being really popular with children, young adults and adults other than those playing professionally, and the risks of injury being the same regardless of the level of sportsmanship, there is a need for more investment in amateur and grassroots sport to prevent serious injuries and provide prompt support to those that suffer from them.

Likewise there is very little support available for retired professional players that may have suffered a series of head injuries during the course of their career. Research has shown that players would significantly benefit from having access to annual checks and scans even after they stop playing.

If you or a loved one have suffered a sport related injury that was not your fault you may be eligible to claim compensation to help you access rehabilitation and physiotherapy privately to speed up your recovery. Depending on the circumstances you may be able to recoup any financial losses you have suffered as the result of your injury including needing to take time off work. Sports injury claims tend to be complicated as its often hard to prove who is at fault for them so its important you speak to a solicitor that has a lot of experience in this area. If you want to have a free confidential chat with a member of our expert team give us a call on 0800 044 8488 or fill in the form here.


Expert Legal Help

Request a Call Back

If you would like us to call you back to discuss a potential claim, please complete the form below and a member of the team will call you at a time convenient to you. We are in your corner and ready to help. Alternatively, you can contact us by email.

Callback Form
Your Name
Your Name

please note we will call back to help during office hours which are Monday to Friday 9am until 6pm