Parliamentary inquiry to be launched to investigate link between sport and brain injuries

Duncan Forbes, Martin Peters and Steve Thompson.
Duncan Forbes (top left) and Martin Peters (top right) both died in 2019, while Steve Thompson (bottom) was recently diagnosed with early onset dementia. Credit: PA

A parliamentary inquiry into the link between sport and long-term brain injury is being launched. 

It comes just weeks after former Northampton Saints rugby player Steve Thompson revealed he's taking legal action after being diagnosed with early onset dementia, while in 2019, Norwich City legends Duncan Forbes and Martin Peters both died following lengthy battles with the condition.

And it's not just the older generation being affected.

Peterborough United defender Bobby Copping recently decided to retire at the age of just 19 after suffering a serious head injury in training.

He has now set up his own foundation to support young players and their families who may be going through similar adversity.

Bobby Copping recently retired at the age of just 19. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Concussion in Sport inquiry will start on 9 March, and will allow MPs to listen to scientific evidence, as well as views from players and governing bodies.

The inquiry will look at the links between head trauma and dementia, and investigate how the risks can be reduced.

“We will look particularly at what role national governing bodies should be taking and their responsibilities to understand risks involved for players and what actions might be taken to mitigate them," Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee chair Julian Knight said.

"We're seeing a number of cases involving brain injury in sport likely to reach the doors of our law courts and we will also look at the implications for sport in the longer term of any successful legal claim."

News of the inquiry will come as a boost for campaigners such as ex-Norwich City striker Chris Sutton who has been calling for football bosses to do more to support those affected by dementia.

Chris Sutton has been campaigning for change. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Sutton's dad Mike passed away on Boxing Day last year.

Sutton recently teamed up with the Daily Mail newspaper to publish a seven-point charter calling for more action to be taken, including the introduction of concussion substitutes and for heading to be limited at all levels in training.

Concussion substitutes have now been introduced in the Premier League on an initial trial basis, but campaigners still want more to be done.