Thursday 22 April 2010

Stomping and other sports.

While Lyle Gilmore was the principal of Dooralong School, at age about forty, he continued to play rugby. Monday morning he often turned up with a bruise or a sore knee, but on this day, his face was swollen and torn, with a Betadine stained and stitched cut starting from is mouth and ending at his left ear. His face looked like a hand-made wallet.
‘A hundred and sixty eight stitches.’ he was able to mumble through diced-tomato lips.

When talking was less painful, he explained he had been ‘stomped’.
‘Stomped? You mean intentionally?’
‘Yes, intentionally.’
‘So this bastard makes a habit of ripping up people’s faces.’
‘Can’t you sue the mongrel?’
‘He was banned for a few matches, that’s all.’
‘So behaviour that would land you in jail is OK on the sports field!’

Then last Sunday I read Plane Jane’s column in the Australian. She wrote about the pressure ARL (Rugby League) players are now under to perform extreme and spectacular collisions, risking permanent injury. She wrote about legal contact, but what about illegal contact?

Now, with video footage recording incidents of intentional foul play, good evidence is available to show if an act was intended to injure a player for the match, the season, or for life.
Intention to seriously injure was never part of any game. We now have the technology so it is time such breaches were recognized as criminal assault and dealt with in courts of law, damages awarded and punishment meted out, including fines and jail time if appropriate.

I contend that would stop intentionally inflicted injuries overnight.

However, there are some on-field encounters we cannot legislate against, but if only out of common decency, wouldn’t you think they’d get a room!?

Pics coutesy ‘Perfectly timed photos’.


  1. 'diced-tomato lips' - now that's a great image. You're right. Everything is about money these days and people seem to love big fights and collisions. They won't stop unless they're made to stop.

  2. My assumption of absence of the right to sue in sport was challenged by my grand daughter Rae, a law student, so here are three opinions in actions where a player sued anther for assault. In the first the plaintiff lost, in the others he won. I would like to have seen what damages if any were awarded.

    McNamara v Duncan (1971) 26 ALR 584
    AFL football
    ‘I have come to the conclusion that the striking of the plaintiff by the defendant was intentional; he meant to do it. I do not suggest that he meant to incapacitate the plaintiff or indeed to cause him any serious injury …’ Per Fox J

    McNamara v Duncan (1971) 26 ALR 584
    An intentional striking of a player outside the rules of the game was not covered by the consent otherwise given by players (ie there is
    consent to battery within the rules of the sport)

    Giumelli v Johnston [1991] ATR 81‐085
    ‘some bodily contact outside the rules of the game is to be expected as an ordinary incident of a football match … [A] player’s consent to the application of force to him in the course of the game extends not only to the application of force within the rules of the game but also to certain commonly encountered infringements of the rules.’

    …such consent cannot be taken to include physical violence applied in contravention of the rules of the game by an opposing player who intends to cause bodily harm or knows, or ought to know, that such harm is the likely result of actions.” (at 68.709-10)
    What about a head‐high tackle in League?
    Player and club can be liable: Canterbury
    Bankstown RLFC Pty Ltd v Rogers [1993] ATR 81‐246

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