Latest News

National News

AFL, NRL soon face concussion class action

A class action on behalf of concussed AFL players is imminent as legal firms plan similar court action against the NRL.

The hierarchy of Australia's two major football codes are soon likely to face court action amid widening concern about the long-term impact of concussion on players.

Greg Griffin, managing partner of Griffins Lawyers, says he has been preparing a class action against the AFL for about five years.

"We are way down the track," Griffin told AAP on Wednesday.

"I would say it's imminent. The next stage is getting things into the court system. There is a raft of claims."

Griffin's comments came as two other law firms consider a near-identical class action against the NRL.

The firms, Bannister Law and Cahill Lawyers, say fresh medical evidence had accelerated a potential NRL class action.

"Given that we have now linked via medical evidence the degenerative brain condition with incidents of concussion, we think we're in a stronger position now to kick it off," Cahill Lawyers director Tom Cahill told AAP on Wednesday.

The firms had been investigating the NRL issue for more than a year.

"It has been more of an investigation regarding speaking to players, looking at where they're at in terms of their lives and how they consider they have been affected by playing the sport," Cahill said.

"There have been a number of players, I can't say who they are or how many ... but I could only suggest and anticipate that it's going to be a fairly high number."

Cahill said it was "exactly the same sort of thing" as the AFL class action.

"Ultimately what will happen, I think, is we (lawyers) will be doing AFL and other sports as well, it's not just limited to the NRL," he said.

"We have concussion in all these high-contact sports and so it's going to feed into other sports as well."

The NRL would not comment on the issue on Wednesday while the AFL had been sought for comment.

The mooted NRL class action would allege the NRL and clubs had medical resources to implement concussion protocols to protect players long before they were introduced.

The law firms' investigation revolved around the degenerative brain condition Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which had been found in retired American NFL players and other athletes from impact sports.

In the United States, a class action against the NFL was settled in 2017 with the creation of a compensation fund for thousands of affected players.

The fund so far had paid out more than $US671 million with estimates the payouts could rise in future to $US1.4 billion.

© AAP 2019