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Dan Scarbrough joins legal case after being diagnosed with early onset dementia

Dan Scarbrough in 2003 /Getty

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Former England international Dan Scarbrough has joined the landmark legal case against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and Wales Rugby Union over alleged failures to protect players from the risks caused by concussion.


The 43-year-old, who in December was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, early onset dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy – a neurodegenerative disease – joins eight other players who are suing the governing bodies.

“I became involved to access specialist treatment and to gain an understanding of what was happening to me,” said Scarbrough, now head of rugby at Bradford Grammar School.

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“One of the main drivers for this action, and for speaking out, is to help other former professionals gain access to elite level treatment and deal with injuries sustained throughout our careers, which is effectively cut off once you retire.

“The governing bodies have a responsibility to look after us post-retirement. Yet, prevention is better than cure.

“I knew what it was doing to my body, I just didn’t realise what it was doing to my brain. My biggest issue now is memory loss.

“I also want to ensure that there are clear measures in place to protect the game at grass roots level and continue to increase the safety of the sport, across all levels, particularly in relation to head injuries.”


In December, a pre-action letter of claim was delivered to World Rugby, the RFU and WRU on behalf of the players – who include former England World Cup-winning hooker Steve Thompson, fellow England flanker Michael Lipman and Wales flanker Alix Popham – by Rylands Law.

It alleges that the risks of concussions and sub-concussive injuries were “known and foreseeable” and lists 24 failures on the part of World Rugby, RFU and WRU.

Discussions between Rylands and the governing bodies are ongoing.


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