Siobhan Cattigan: Family need answers over Scottish striker’s death before they can grieve

Scottish Rugby says it should have treated the tribute to Siobhan Cattigan at Murrayfield ahead of the 2023 Six Nations match against Ireland with more sensitivity.

Siobhan Cattigan’s family say they “can’t begin to grieve” until questions surrounding the former Scotland striker’s death are resolved.

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

His family claims undetected rugby-related brain damage led to Cattigan’s death.

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

The final row suffered two concussions while on duty in Scotland and his family have previously criticized the governing body for failing to carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances which led to the County player’s death Stirling in 2021.

They claim their daughter, who won 19 caps between 2018 and 2021, did not receive necessary assistance due to brain damage, and the family has launched legal action against Scottish Rugby and World Rugby.

The Cattigan family have branded Scottish Rugby’s previous approach “disgraceful” but praised their new chairman John McGuigan.

“Mr. McGuigan contacted us a few months ago to tell us that he wanted, to the best of his ability, to ‘right the wrongs,'” the statement continued.

“We are extremely grateful that he acted with integrity, humanity and decency, in contacting us from an organization that had previously treated our family and, more importantly, Siobhan’s memory disgracefully with derogatory comments and disrespectful actions of the from senior management.”

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

Cattigan’s teammates have not been informed by Scottish Rugby of the family’s wish to host them.

McGuigan said he had met with Cattigan’s parents and partner over the past few months and discussions were ongoing.

“Having listened to the family, I would like them to apologize on behalf of Scottish Rugby,” he said.

“While Scottish Rugby did not intend to cause distress to the family through our actions, it is clear that we should have handled 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 differ between men and women and “are similarly planning our next meeting with the Crown Office will be productive.

“Thank you to everyone who has held up our broken hearts and kept the memory of our beautiful little girl alive, we have a long road ahead of us,” the statement added.

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