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Scottish Rugby statement: Siobhan Cattigan Sunday Times article

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Christopher Pike/World Rugby via Getty Images)

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The Scottish Rugby Union have issued a statement following the publication of a harrowing interview with the family of the late Siobhan Cattigan in The Sunday Times. The women’s international level back-rower passed away last November at the age of just 26 and her family have now joined the brain injury lawsuit that is being taken against World Rugby and other governing bodies. 

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Sunday’s compelling newspaper interview generated a huge reaction – as detailed here by RugbyPass – with numerous people calling for action to be taken against the Scottish union as Cattigan had suffered head injuries while training and playing for her country.  

In the article, Cattigan’s mother Morven said about her daughter: “As time went by, I likened it to dementia because I couldn’t think of anything that would change a personality so massively, something that completely alters you as a person. Siobhan was crumbling before our eyes and something catastrophic had happened in her brain.”  

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Her father Neil added: “They fixed her broken bones but turned their backs on Siobhan’s broken brain… It feels wrong that we’re here and she’s not. I was the one who brought rugby into this family, and the reason why she started playing was because she was with me. Rugby gave her the happiest days and memories – and ultimately rugby is why she’s not here.”

Scottish Rugby have now released a statement in response to the heartbreaking Cattigan story. It read: “The account of Siobhan Cattigan’s life and sad passing reported in the media today, as told by her parents, made for challenging reading. Neil and Morven Cattigan have shown enormous courage in sharing so openly details of their relationship with their daughter and the thoughts of everyone at Scottish Rugby continue to be with the family.

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“In the letter of condolence sent to Neil and Morven last December from our chairman, CEO and president of Scottish Rugby, we offered any support we could to the family, and that offer remains open. We recognise this has been a very upsetting time for the Cattigan family and Siobhan’s close friends and if any of Scottish Rugby’s actions following Siobhan’s passing have made that more difficult, then we do, of course, apologise sincerely.

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“The published interview covers a significant number of topics which we are now considering carefully. We will be working through it with colleagues and advisors to learn, from their perspective, more about the issues mentioned. 

“We fully acknowledge the seriousness of what the family have shared. However, there are details and assertions about how our people are said to have acted that we do not recognise or accept. Respecting medical confidentiality, and with reference in the interview to a potential legal claim, we are not in a position to communicate further on any details of Siobhan’s care at this time.

“We will continue to work closely with the many people connected to Scottish Rugby who knew and played with Siobhan to ensure they are supported at this very difficult time.”

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