The family of a former Scotland rugby international “cannot begin to grieve” until questions over her death are answered.
Siobhan Cattigan died suddenly in 2021, with her family believing that rugby-related head injuries had caused a rapid decline in her health.
While no cause of death was given at the time, Cattigan’s death has been at the centre of discussions about how to handle repetitive brain injuries in the sport.
The 26-year-old, who won 19 caps between 2018 and 2021, had suffered two concussions while playing for her country.
Scottish Rugby issued an apology to the family last week and vowed to learn lessons after admitting it should have “managed a tragic situation better”.
In a statement released on Tuesday morning, her family described Scottish Rugby’s previous approach as “shameful” but commended its new chairman John McGuigan.
It said: “We acknowledge the announced on Saturday by SRL chairman John McGuigan.
“Mr McGuigan contacted us some months ago to say he wished, as far as his capabilities would permit, to ‘right the wrongs,” the statement continued.
“We are extremely grateful that he has acted with integrity, humanity and decency, reaching out to us from an organisation that had previously treated our family and, more importantly, Siobhan’s memory shamefully with unkind comments and disrespectful actions being made by senior executives.
“There are those within Scottish Rugby who have questions to answer regarding their treatment, or lack thereof, towards Siobhan and we cannot begin to grieve until they are answered.”
McGuigan made the apology while speaking at the organisation’s annual general meeting on Saturday.
He said: “As the new chair of SRL I wish to apologise wholeheartedly for any anguish we caused Siobhan during her time with Scottish Rugby and to her family and loved ones following her passing.”
The official also admitted that Scottish Rugby had not acted well in the aftermath of Cattigan’s death, and should have offered condolences to her parents at the time, saying: “We also take responsibility for Scottish Rugby’s handling of certain elements surrounding Siobhan’s funeral, including not relaying the family’s wishes to every player which meant some of Siobhan’s team-mates did not get the opportunity to attend her funeral.
“We also let the family down by not directly contacting the family nor visiting after Siobhan’s passing to offer our condolences.”
McGuigan did not make an admission of liability on the organisation’s behalf but he vowed that lessons would be learned and that Scottish Rugby would make changes for the future.
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