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Talk by Professor Jack Anderson on Concussion in Sport: Legal Implications

13.07.2018
Talk by Professor Jack Anderson on Concussion in Sport: Legal Implications

On Thursday, 5 July, Professor Jack Anderson, Director of Sports Law Studies, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne and Adjunct Professor at the School of Law, UL, gave a seminar on Concussion in Sport: Legal Implications. Professor Anderson’s talk examined the potential liability of clubs, referees and sports medics. With a focus on rugby, Professor Anderson spoke of the increased physicality of the game in the twenty-three years since its professionalisation. Society as a whole has become more litigious. Governing bodies, clubs, referees and medics are facing an uncertain future when it comes their respective duties of care and concussion. The Northland (New Zealand) Rugby Union recently introduced the blue card system, which requires a referee to order the player off the pitch when the referee suspects the player is concussed. This raises the question whether in the future referees will need to receive medical training and what are the consequences for a referee who does not issue a blue card and the player is subsequently found to have concussion. Beyond the realm of negligence, others factors to consider include whether concussion constitutes an industrial disease, will waivers be required to immunise clubs from liability? Professor Anderson’s talk generated a number of interesting questions from the attendees, which included medical doctors and members of the legal profession. The talk was chaired by The Hon. Mr. Justice David Barniville, also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Law, UL. The event was supported by the International Commercial and Economic Law (ICEL) group of the School of Law, UL. The event was organised by Laura Donnellan, who lectures in Sport and the Law and published a number of books and articles on the relationship between law and sport. Thank you to Professor Ray Friel, Director of ICEL, and Professor Paul McCutcheon who introduced Professor Anderson and The Hon. Mr. Justice David Barniville.