Injured physio sues referee – implications?

Alison Donnan

Physiotherapist Alison Donnan back at work with the Manly Marlins after being badly hurt in an on-field incident.

Picture: Annika Enderborg Source: The Daily Telegraph

MOTHER of two and Manly physiotherapist Alison Donnan has sued NSW Rugby Union and a referee for more than $750,000 after she fractured a vertebra when three players crashed over her on the field. 

Donnan was on the field treating injured player Eddie Aholelei in April 2009.

She has sued in the Supreme Court for damages, claiming against NSW Rugby Union and referee Michael Blair.

Donnan says she has been unable to return to work full-time since the accident which saw her hospitalised in the spinal ward of Royal North Shore Hospital.

She had $30,000 spinal surgery and had to wear a brace which stopped her from lifting her seven-month-old son.

NSW Rugby in its defence says it is not negligent and in fact Alison was negligent for walking on the field without alerting the referee.

NSW Rugby also claims it was difficult to distinguish her from players because she was wearing a Manly Rugby jersey.

The accident occurred during a first-grade match between Manly and Penrith at Manly Oval. Aholelei had been knocked out while play continued on the other side of the field.

Mr Blair also denied negligence or breaching his duty of care to Mrs Donnan. Donnan and her lawyers declined to comment, NSW Rugby Union’s lawyers have not returned calls seeking comment.

On a similar vein, this story from Sri Lanka shows the level of concern in refereeing circles when it comes to the provision of medical staff around the game. A brave and correct call from the referee in this particular match.