Nearly 400 former football and rugby professionals were due to file legal claims on Tuesday 5 April for brain injuries that have resulted in cases of young onset dementia. Included among the 378 claimants are 100 former rugby league players, 40 former rugby union players and 14 former footballers, who allege that the games’ governing bodies were negligent by failing to take proper steps to protect players against injury. “There is remarkable consistency of symptoms across all these contact sports and it’s very grim,” said Richard Boardman of sports legal firm Rylands Garth, which is acting for all the claimants. “Everybody, the lawyers included in this matter, are all fans of these sports and our main priority is looking after our guys and female players as well with brain damage and they need urgent clinical support and damages for themselves and their families. We ultimately want these sports to survive well into the future, but clearly urgent, immediate changes are needed.” The number of claimants has mushroomed from 275 claimants at the start of the year.