The family of a Scottish international Rugby player who died last year have launched legal proceedings against the sport’s governing bodies.
Stirling County back row Siobhan Cattigan, who won 19 caps for Scotland between 2018 and 2021, died in November last year aged 26.
Her parents told the Sunday Times that brain injuries sustained through Rugby caused deterioration in their daughter’s mental health, which ultimately led to her death.
They have now launched legal proceedings against Scottish Rugby and World Rugby, after they said that protocols on injuries and after care were not properly implemented.
“It had got to the point where she could no longer live with the pain in her head and Siobhan succumbed to an irrational thought and impulsive action,” Siobhan’s father Neil said.
Her mother, Morven, added: “As time went by, I likened it to dementia, because I couldn’t think of anything that would change a personality so massively, something that completely alters you as a person.
“Siobhan was crumbling before our eyes and something catastrophic had happened in her brain.”
Scottish Rugby have said that while they “recognise this has been a very upsetting time for the Cattigan family”, they “do not recognise or accept” some of the claims made against them.
A spokesperson for Scottish Rugby said: “The account of Siobhan Cattigan’s life and sad passing reported in the media today, as told by her parents, made for challenging reading.
“Neil & Morven Cattigan have shown enormous courage in sharing so openly details of their relationship with their daughter and the thoughts of everyone at Scottish Rugby continue to be with the family.
“In the letter of condolence sent to Neil & Morven last December from our chairman, CEO and president of Scottish Rugby, we offered any support we could to the family, and that offer remains open.
“We recognise this has been a very upsetting time for the Cattigan family and Siobhan’s close friends, and if any of Scottish Rugby’s actions following Siobhan’s passing have made that more difficult, then we do, of course, apologise sincerely.
“The published interview covers a significant number of topics which we are now considering carefully. We will be working through it with colleagues and advisors to learn, from their perspective, more about the issues mentioned.
“We fully acknowledge the seriousness of what the family have shared, however there are details and assertions about how our people are said to have acted that we do not recognise, or accept.
“Respecting medical confidentiality, and with reference in the interview to a potential legal claim, we are not in a position to communicate further on any details of Siobhan’s care at this time.
“We will continue to work closely with the many people connected to Scottish Rugby who knew and played with Siobhan to ensure they are supported at this very difficult time.”
In a statement, the Cattigans’ lawyer – Robert Holland of Balfour+Manson LLP – said: “The central issue is whether this tragedy was avoidable if the head injury protocols brought in to protect players had been followed.
“Claims have been served on both World Rugby and the Scottish Rugby Union, and we await a response.
“It is hoped matters can be resolved so Siobhan’s family can finally get some closure and lessons can be learnt by rugby union’s governing bodies.”
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