Super League players warned of hepatitis B risk

Wigan's Quentin Pongia retired shortly after being diagnosed with hepatitis B
Wigan's Quentin Pongia retired shortly after being diagnosed with hepatitis B

SUPER League clubs are being advised to screen their players for hepatitis B after an unnamed player was diagnosed with the virus.

All 14 clubs held meetings with their senior squads yesterday after being informed of the news by the Rugby Football League, who said the screening is a precaution against possible transmission of the virus.

The RFL say the player, who is not being named due to medical confidentiality, has not played or trained since his diagnosis and is being provided with expert medical treatment and support.

The spokesman added: “There has never been a known case of transmission of the hepatitis B virus in any contact sport but, following advice from chief medical officer professor Chris Brookes, the RFL has issued its advisory to clubs to provide peace of mind to all players and key personnel.

“A factsheet with FAQs on hepatitis B has also been produced for players and clubs.”

Hepatitis B is relatively rare in England and the last known Super League player to contract the virus was Wigan’s former New Zealand captain Quentin Pongia in 2004.