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Former Saracens player settles £3m 'fire extinguisher' case

By Ian Cameron
Matt Hankin

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Former Saracens player Matt Hankin has settled part of a £3 million case taken against a former teammate and the Saracens team doctor after he was hit over the head with a fire extinguisher during a team bonding trip to Budapest.

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The incident lead to eventual retirement from the game in 2018 at the age of just 25.

Hankin took a case against Saracens prop Richard Barrington and team doctor Ademola Adejuwon as a result of the incident and subsequent health issues he suffered.

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The case has now been settled with these two parties for an undisclosed amount. A case against Saracens is still ongoing.

Hankin says he has been left with long-term concussion symptoms as a result of the blow from Barrington- and a subsequent on-field injury.

Hankin was wearing a metal helmet when he was hit on the head with the extinguisher by Barrington as part of a boozy party game he and his teammates had been playing.

The former England U20s described his symptoms as making him feel anxious, isolated and “a prisoner in his own home” in a previous interview upon retirement.

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The court heard how after the fire extinguisher incident in Hungary, he returned to the UK with symptoms of concussion.

‘The claimant was a professional rugby player,’ said judge, Deputy Master Colin Campbell. ‘During a pre-season tour in Budapest on 6 September 2015, the team became involved in a traditional off-the-pitch drinking game, during the course of which the claimant suffered a severe head injury.

‘The tap on the head he had received during the course of the game had been administered by Mr Barrington.

‘On his return to England the following day, the claimant displayed symptoms of concussion. Between 8th and 15th September, the claimant had been placed on a graduated return to play although he had complained of dizzy spells and vomiting after exercise.

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‘Following a medical review by Dr Adejuwon, the claimant had been diagnosed with sinusitis and prescribed a nasal spray, a dose which was repeated on 2 October 2015 when he was told that he was fit to play rugby the following day.

‘During the match in question, the claimant had suffered a further head injury, resulting in another concussion.

‘Subsequently the claimant was diagnosed with post-traumatic vestibular disorder and persistent post-traumatic vestibular migraine.’

Now 28, he had been part of the England U20 side that won the Junior World Championship in 2013 and had looked to be on a path to higher honours before he was forced to retire from the game.

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