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If you were injured at work, you would rightly expect that your employer should be investigated to determine if the accident was their fault. However you may be surprised to learn that this is not the case for all employees, and in fact professional sports people are not covered by laws which state employers must report any injury in the workplace to the Health and Safety Executive or their local authority’s health and safety department.

Solicitor GlasgowA petition has now been launched at the Scottish Parliament to ensure that injuries which occur during the course of a professional sporting event will be properly investigated. Currently, any such injures do not need to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive, unless they result in death, but Bill Alexander’s petition aims to change this.

Given recent research has shown professional athletes who suffer concussions are already at increased risk of anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance, not to mention dementia, it is shocking that sports injuries do not currently require to be reported.

The SFA and FA in particular should be doing more to protect football players.  It has now been revealed that the FA were advised over 20 years ago of a potential link between heading the ball and dementia but they have failed to take any steps.  It is not clear when the Scottish Football Association first became aware of such a risk but in light of highly publicised cases such as former Celtic player and manager, Billy McNeill, they can surely now be seen to be turning a blind eye.

Research has also linked football, rugby and boxing to other brain injuries, including the degenerative condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Awareness of this condition has been raised by documentaries made by former Scotland Rugby international John Beattie as well as press from the US involving the NFL.  For years the NFL ignored the link between brain disorders and American Football but they have now been forced to accept this and various lawsuits have been settled as a result.  Changes have also been made which aim to improve safety on the field, in spite of President Trump’s ridiculous comments that this ruins the game.

Hopefully the Scottish Parliament will not wish to be aligned with Trump’s view and steps can now be taken to improve safety across all sport.

If you’ve been injured in an accident whilst playing sport, Talk to Thompsons Solicitors on 0800 089 1331.

Blog by Claire Campbell, Solicitor

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