Cattigan family ‘cannot grieve’ as they seek answers

The family of Siobhan Cattigan say they “cannot begin to grieve” until questions surrounding the death of the former Scotland forward are answered.

Scottish Rugby has apologised for its handling of the 26-year-old’s death and says that it “let down” her family.

Her family say undetected rugby-related brain damage led to Cattigan’s death.

“There are those within Scottish Rugby who have questions to answer regarding the treatment, or lack thereof, towards Siobhan,” a family statement read.

The back row suffered two concussions on Scotland duty and her family have previously criticised the governing body for not holding an independent inquiry into the circumstances that led to the death of the Stirling County player in 2021.

They say their daughter, who won 19 caps between 2018 and 2021, was not given the required assistance for brain injuries, and the family began legal action against Scottish Rugby and World Rugby.

The Cattigan family described Scottish Rugby’s previous approach as “shameful” but commended its new chairman John McGuigan.

“Mr McGuigan contacted us some months ago to say he wished, as far as his capabilities would permit, to ‘right the wrongs,” the statement continued.

“We are extremely grateful that he has acted with integrity, humanity and decency, reaching out to us from an organisation that had previously treated our family and, more importantly, Siobhan’s memory shamefully with unkind comments and disrespectful actions being made by senior executives.”

Speaking at the Scottish Rugby annual meeting on Saturday, McGuigan said the governing body “should have managed this tragic situation better” and “take responsibility” for the handling of “certain elements surrounding Siobhan’s funeral”.

Cattigan’s team-mates were not made aware by Scottish Rugby of the family’s wishes that they attend.

McGuigan said he had met Cattigan’s parents and partner over recent months and that discussions are ongoing.

“Having listened to the family I want on behalf of Scottish Rugby to say sorry,” he said.

“Albeit Scottish Rugby did not intend to cause distress to the family through our actions, it’s clear we should have managed this tragic situation better.”

The Cattigan family say they have accepted the Scottish government’s invitation to meet to discuss how injury risk, prevention and treatment differs between males and females and “similarly anticipate our upcoming meeting with the Crown Office will be productive”.

“Thank you to every single person who has supported our broken hearts and kept our beautiful wee girl’s memory alive, we have a long road ahead,” the statement added.

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