Overseas Case Study – Hamed v Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
The English Premier League is one of the most followed sporting leagues around the world. It does not come as a surprise that the players of this league are required to be fit and healthy, and remain so for the duration of their careers. Players are checked by club doctors and other specialists to ensure that not only their fitness is at peak levels, but also their overall health, before they are given clearance to play with a professional club. Despite being the worldwide brand of premier league football, they are unfortunately not exempt from negligence claims arising out of misconduct of their professionals.
Radwan Hamed, then aged 17, a promising young striker for Tottenham Hotspur, suffered a cardiac arrest during his first ever professional game for The Spurs in Belgium in August 2006. He collapsed mid-game and despite being rushed to intensive care, his heart had stopped beating for several minutes and his brain was starved of oxygen. He was left with catastrophic brain damage.
Prior to his first match, Mr Hamed, was screened by a cardiologist as part of the protocol required when signing a professional contract with a football club. The scans showed unequivocal abnormalities in Mr Hamed’s heart. After reviewing the scans, the cardiologist sent recommendations to the specialist sports physicians employed by The Spurs. Despite abnormalities being shown on the scan, Mr. Hamed was cleared to play, subsequently suffering a cardiac arrest in his first game.
A negligence claim was brought on behalf of Mr Hamed by his father, against the cardiologist, the club, and the two specialist sports physicians. It was Mr Hamed’s case that between them, the defendants could and should have acted in a way that his injury would never have happened.
The essence of the claim was that the doctors failed to diagnose or warn Mr Hamed about an underlying and potentially fatal heart condition, and that the subsequent cardiac arrest and brain injury resulted from the negligence of the defendants. It was alleged that the cardiologist owed a duty of care to Mr Hamed, and that duty was breached by not having done enough to warn the Spurs doctors about Mr Hamed’s heart condition. It was also alleged that The Spurs themselves, owed a duty of care through both doctor/patient relationship and employer/employee relationship, in that the Club doctors had failed to pick up the heart condition that the cardiologist inadequately attempted to convey to them.
What ensued was a legal battle that would last 10 years. The matter was heard before the England and Wales High Court in February 2015 with the Judge finding that there was in fact a duty of care owed to Mr Hamed by the defendants and that this duty of care had been breached. The final chapter came on 4 October 2016, when the Court assessed Mr Hamed’s damages at approximately £7 million.
For what was no doubt a long journey, both physically and emotionally for Mr Hamed and his family, they are now able to move on with their lives and focus on Mr Hamed’s further recovery from his severe injuries.
If you or someone you know has suffered a serious injury due to somebody else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make and online enquiry.
Written by Sian-Louise Perez.
Sian-Louise Perez is a Solicitor in Ian Chipchase and Anna Tavianatos’ Practice Group. Sian-Louise’s practice has a particular focus on workers compensation claims and she is passionate supporter of workers’ rights.