St Helens deny Hohaia concussion claims


St Helens have strongly refuted Lance Hohaia's claims that they failed to support him after he was assaulted by Ben Flower in 2014.

Hohaia's rugby league career was cut short in April 2015 due to career-ending concussions following the Super League Grand Final two years ago, when he was knocked to the ground and brutally punched by the Wigan player.

Despite an attempted comeback, Hohaia hung up his boots, with the 32-year-old later revealing via the New Zealand Herald he was told to take medication and play, something St Helens deny.

"Hohaia's version of events at St Helens between the Grand Final in 2014 and his voluntary resignation without notice six months later is utterly inaccurate and malicious," St Helens said in a statement.

"Throughout that time he received the highest level of professional support and empathy, both rugby and medical. His subsequent version of ongoing "concussive symptoms" were entirely retrospective and only raised by him at the end of that period.

"At no time was he put under any pressure or duress by the club to play and he was provided with highest level of professional advice and support by the club. St Helens set the very highest standards in that regard.

"His decision to retire was entirely his and his resignation was without due notice to the club. It was he, and not the club, that later put the matter in the hands of solicitors. His assertions were totally without merit or foundation and he then decided not to take the matter further. His retrospective version of events bore little, if any, relation to our detailed professional records.

"We are totally outraged that now, some nine months after his voluntary resignation, he regurgitates his grossly inaccurate and misrepresentative assertions against St Helens in a New Zealand newspaper whilst he is resident in the United States.

"It is particularly despicable that he has publicly so wrongly and maliciously impugned St Helens and its highly professional and caring staff who provided him with support and understanding, and simply because he was clearly not entitled to continue to be paid by the club after he voluntarily resigned.

"Such malicious and public misrepresentation is clearly highly damaging to the highly respected and valuable name and reputation of St Helens and to the reputations of our first rate professional staff. We will review all possible actions open to us and seek due redress from all relevant parties."