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British Sports Minister Warns of Concussion Liability

Andy Berg

The British sports minister warned last week that the rise in concussion lawsuits threatens the financial viability of some sports.

Nigel Huddleston, parliamentary under-secretary of state for Sport, Heritage and Tourism at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, told the digital, culture, media and sport select committee that some sports may even have to create rules that would limit concussions.

Huddleston said he couldn’t discuss specific sports because of ongoing litigation.

“In terms of the issue of ‘should sports be concerned?’. Yes. Could huge litigation undermine the financial viability of sports? Of course, absolutely,” Huddleston said according to The Guardian. “The issue then is could they mitigate potential harms and concussion through changing the nature of the guidance of how those sports are conducted? I think in some cases, yes.

While safety measures are one way of addressing the problem, Huddleston admitted that such measures could “potentially undermine the sport’s attractiveness and make it effectively quite a boring game and therefore not attractive any more. We’ve got to make a judgment call at some point to take further action as to the individual sports in the absence of perfect information.”

Huddleston also suggested that the sport of soccer needed to invest in more concussion research. 

“One thing that is very clear to me is that there are massive gaps with women’s sport and also at the amateur and school level,” he said. “I expect and require them to put their hands in their pockets and fund research into concussion seriously and then share those results. If there are gaps then we’ll consider what the role of government could be, but I don’t think we should need to because there’s enough money in sport to be able to do this.”

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