Australian rules-Class action claim lodged over AFL concussions

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A class action lawsuit on behalf of former professional Australian rules players over alleged damage to their health caused by concussions sustained during their careers was lodged in Victoria's Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Margalit Injury Lawyers are seeking damages of A$2 million ($1.33 million) per player plus medical expenses from the Australian Football League (AFL), the Australian Associated Press reported.

"Their careers are finished and years later they find these concussion-related injuries creeping in and affecting their ability to work, their ability to have a happy family life," Michel Margalit said outside the court in Melbourne.

"The whole class action could cost the AFL close to A$1 billion but we must remember that this is not about bringing down the AFL, this is about compensating these injured players, this compensation will come through insurance."

More than 60 players have already signed up to the class action and more are expected to follow. The case covers any player who sustained concussion-related injuries while playing or training since 1985.

There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the AFL, who earlier on Tuesday issued updated guidance for the management of concussion ahead of this week's start to the new season.

The issue of repetitive head trauma has triggered lawsuits in numerous sports in recent years.

In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the National Football League's estimated $1 billion settlement of concussion-related lawsuits with more than 4,500 former players.

In 2019, the NHL paid $18.49 million to settle a concussion lawsuit brought by more than 100 players.

On Monday, another 55 amateur rugby players joined the growing list of claimants in a class-action concussion lawsuit against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union.

($1 = 1.5024 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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