Willis sues Sharks over head injuries

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:51
Large premiership trophy 800

NEWS: Former Sale Sharks scrumhalf Cillian Willis is suing Premiership club Sale Sharks after sustaining two head injuries in 2013.

The injuries forced Willis to retire at the age of 28. He has accused Sale Sharks of "clinical negligence" over his career-ending concussion and is taking legal action against the club.  

During the first half of Sale's LV Cup semi-final against Saracens in March 2013, Willis was kicked in the head and then treated on the pitch by medics. The former scrumhalf was allowed to play on before picking up the second knock.   

With his head heavily bandaged, Willis was substituted in the 49th minute. He was assessed by medics for a second time and after some discussion - left the pitch.

According to Skysports.com a spokesperson for Sale Sharks refused to comment on the issue as it was an ongoing legal process. The Rugby Players Association also declined to comment on whether Willis has contacted them over the issue or not.   

This comes on the day that World Rugby announced new technology was used during the rugby sevens in Rio which identifies and assesses head injuries during matches.

The case, most likely to be held in Manchester, is not expected to be heard for at least 18 months.

Not only will the court case negatively effect the Sale Sharks but the Premiership coaches shared their fear that legal action could have a wider repercussion for rugby.

"It puts club medical staff and doctors in a very, very difficult situation," Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Sport.

"If a player can suddenly turn around and start suing a rugby club, at what stage will it stop?

"I think the majority of past concussion situations have been dealt with very professionally and very well.

"My big concern is, are we going to create - if we are not very careful - a scenario for our medical staff where they are almost having to drag players off the field just in case? That's the big worry for me," Baxter stated.

While Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: "If you put yourself in the shoes of the medic, it's almost an impossible job. Would they want to return someone to the field of play if they have been taken off for an assessment now?"

In 2014 the head injury assessment (HIA) was introduced, replacing the shorter and less comprehensive pitch-side concussion assessment (PSCA).

Any player who has suffered a head injury must have an HIA to determine whether they are fit to return to the field of play.

But McCall feels teams should be able to bring back on players who have been substituted on tactical grounds, in the event of a replacement suffering concussion.

"For us coaches, there is the possibility of being reduced to 14 men because a sub fails his concussion test.

"That is a ludicrous state of affairs. We want player safety, but it should be like a blood bin and we should be able to bring a replaced player back on the field and make sure teams stay at 15," McCall said.

Baxter added: "Everything is so grey, that to really protect yourself, you could easily see 10 HIAs in a game. We just have to be a bit careful about where it will end up,"

Wasps boss Dai Young said: "The Willis case could set a dangerous precedent. Let's hope it doesn't go down that path, but we all have total trust in our medics.

"We are all fully aware of concussion, but it is putting a lot of pressure on our medics now, and putting them under the microscope,"

Source: skysports.com & bbc.com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 22 17 1 4 84
Exeter Chiefs 22 15 3 4 84
Saracens 22 16 1 5 77
Leicester Tigers 22 14 0 8 66
Bath 22 12 0 10 59
Harlequins 22 11 0 11 52
Northampton Saints 22 10 0 12 52
Newcastle Falcons 22 10 0 12 49
Gloucester 22 7 2 13 46
Sale Sharks 22 7 1 14 40
Worcester Warriors 22 5 2 15 33
Bristol 22 3 0 19 20