Ex-Rotherham rugby player with dementia part of legal action

Neil Spence during his Rotherham days.Neil Spence during his Rotherham days.
Neil Spence during his Rotherham days.
​A FORMER Rotherham rugby man is among 300 former players suing the game's governing bodies over head injuries sustained in their careers.

Neil Spence made more than 140 appearances for Roth’ after making his debut in 1996 and played a part in their promotions up to the Premiership.

The openside flanker was diagnosed with dementia three years ago at the age of 44.

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Spence has said he suffers regular headaches due to the effects of playing professional rugby for 15 years and that while he doesn’t want rugby to be taken away, it needed to be safe and people needed to be aware of the potential dangers.

He is among scores of ex players, including former England ho oker Steve Thompson, bringing a claim against the Rugby Football Union, World Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union in a class action.

The case began in the summer, but a hearing on 1 December is expected to decide which players should go forward as test cases after the players’ lawyers submitted 5,000 pages of medical records detailing brain injuries.

The RFU, World Rugby and the WRU said: “We remain saddened to hear the stories of former players who are struggling. We would want players involved to know that we listen, we care and continue to champion player welfare as the sport’s number one priority.

“Players and parents can have confidence that rugby is as safe as a contact sport can be. Rugby will always be led by the latest science when taking any action on player welfare.”