Tottenham Hotspur ‘Breached Duty’ In Footballer Brain Damage Case

Judge Rules Club And Cardiologist Are Liable After Player’s Collapse In First Game

17.02.2015

The High Court has ruled that Tottenham Hotspur failed in its duty of care towards a 17-year-old youth player who suffered a cardiac arrest during a game for the club after the results of an ECG screening were not acted upon.
 
Radwan Hamed was left with brain damage after he collapsed six minutes into the match in August 2006, which he played in despite screenings prior to his signing showing his heart was “unequivocally abnormal”.
 
The player was referred to cardiologist Dr Peter Mills for the screening by the club’s head of medical services Dr Charlotte Cowie and her colleague Dr Mark Curtin.
 
However, in his ruling Mr Justice Hickinbottom said Dr Cowie made a major error of judgment when concluding the player did not face any risks.
 
He stated: “It was their responsibility, as specialist physicians and employers, to ensure that relevant risks were identified and communicated to the claimant and his parents to enable them to make an informed decision as to whether to bear them.”
 
The judge ruled Tottenham Hotspur are 70 per cent liable for the injuries, while Dr Mills was ruled to be 30 per cent liable.

Expert Opinion
Whilst club doctors may be working outside of a clinical environment, their duty remains the same to their patient. Sport, like any industry, has a duty to put the health and safety of its players and employees first.

"When a player, or a club, places reliance upon the professional skills of a club doctor, that doctor must ensure that he provides advice in accordance with acceptable medical practice. Failure to do this can have devastating consequences, as was the case here.

"A case of this nature demonstrates the huge effect that brain injuries can have on victims’ lives, leaving them needing long-term care and support to get the best from life. It is absolutely vital that steps are taken to learn the very serious lessons which have been raised by this incident."
Ian Christian, Partner