- The back rower died in November 2021 from undetected rugby-related brain damage
- The SRU’s new chairman has since said they should have handled the situation better
- The governing body was accused of failing to conduct an independent investigation
The family of former Scotland rugby striker Siobhan Cattigan say they need answers before they can “begin to mourn” her death.
The 26-year-old back rower died in November 2021 after undetected rugby-related brain damage led to a significant deterioration in her health, her family claimed.
Cattigan, who played 19 times for her country, suffered two concussions while on international duty and her family said she was not given the support she needed by the Scottish Rugby Union due to brain injuries.
They also criticized the governing body for failing to conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances leading to her death.
Now a family statement says: “There are people in Scottish rugby who need to answer questions about the treatment, or lack of treatment, given to Siobhan.”
The Scottish back rower played 19 times for her country before her death in November 2021
Siobhan pictured with her partner Ann Taylor, who paid tribute to the rugby player’s life
‘Mister [John] McGuigan [the SRU’s new chairman] contacted us a few months ago and told us that he wanted to right the wrong to the best of his ability.
“We are extremely grateful that he acted with integrity, humanity and decency in reaching out to us from an organization that has previously shamefully treated our family and, more importantly, Siobhan’s memory, with unkind comments and disrespectful actions from senior staff has.”
“Thank you to every single person who supported our broken hearts and kept the memory of our beautiful little girl alive. We have a long way to go.”
Speaking at the Scottish Rugby annual conference on Saturday, McGuigan said this “tragic situation” should have been handled better by the body.
“After listening to the family, I would like to apologize on behalf of Scottish Rugby,” he said.
“As the new chair of SRL, I would like to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the distress we have caused Siobhan during her time at Scottish Rugby and to her family and loved ones following her death.”
“While Scottish Rugby did not intend our actions to cause distress to the family, it is clear that we should have handled this tragic situation better.” We have listened and heeded the lessons and, in Siobhan’s memory, we are committed to making changes to ensure we are a better organization in the future.
Siobhan’s father Neil pictured giving pink concussion talk at an event with Ann Taylor
“Her parents, Neil and Morven, explained to me that joining the Scotland squad in 2018 was an incredibly proud moment for Siobhan and her family.
“However, throughout her time as an international player with Scottish Rugby up until her death and afterwards, her family and friends felt strongly that Scottish Rugby should have done more to support Siobhan and her memory.”
He also added: “We also take responsibility for Scottish Rugby’s handling of certain elements surrounding Siobhan’s funeral, including not passing on the family’s wishes to each player, which meant some of Siobhan’s team-mates did not have the opportunity to attend her funeral.”
“We also disappointed the family by not contacting them directly or visiting them to offer our condolences following Siobhan’s death.”
Cattigan played for Stirling County from 2014 to 2021 after also attending university there.
Now her family say they need answers from the Scottish Rugby Union about her death