Football, brain injury and litigation

Football has been warned that it faces Government legislation forcing the sport to tackle the risk of brain injury among players, having been ‘knowingly negligent’ for years.

Chris Bryant MP, head of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury, said the sport’s ‘shocking’ inaction was made even worse by vast sums of money in the game.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury successfully lobbied this year for checks to be made inside prisons after it was found that inmates had previously suffered brain injuries.  Now Chris Bryant is suggesting a similar system of mandatory checks for footballers – although he and his committee are yet to persuade football to introduce mandatory brain checks on players throughout their careers.

The Time for Change summit, staged by the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum, also heard how football’s failure to tackle the risk has led to two legal cases against the game being under preparation.

University of East Anglia neuroscientist Dr Michael Grey, who is currently undertaking research on former players including Mark Bright, formerly of Crystal Palace, and Jeremy Goss, once of Norwich City, said: ‘I think we are likely to see some cases. I am aware of a couple that are ongoing or at least being prepared.’