The heartbroken father of a rugby player who died on the pitch during a school game has said more must be done to highlight the dangers of concussion. This is from the Belfast Telegraph…
Benjamin Robinson, 14, collapsed on the field in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim in January 2011 and died from head injuries.
In an emotional outburst during his inquest in Belfast, the schoolboy’s father Peter Robinson said that modern guidelines on concussion management should be issued to all players, their parents, coaches and teachers to prevent any repeat of the tragedy.
“Why does it take my son to die for this to come up?” Mr Robinson said. “It is simple. Schools issue it (guidance) out, get the parents to sign off on it. It’s not rocket science. Give me a printer and paper and I will do it.”
Senior coroner Suzanne Anderson heard how the schoolboy who was playing for Carrickfergus Grammar had appeared dazed and confused shortly before he collapsed.
A team mate, whose identity cannot be revealed after a direction from the Coroner, said Benjamin had been involved in three separate collisions during the hour-long match and at one stage had to be pulled to his feet.
He claimed that towards the end of the crucial clash with Dalriada High School, Benjamin had not been aware of the score.
“When Ben asked me he did not seem himself. He seemed dazed,” he told the court.
“I just told him to keep his head focused and stay on the game. It was the way he said it. I thought he was dazed looking. I wasn’t sure if it was something that was going on for a while. I did not think it was my place to say to anyone to take a player off.”
The schoolboy, who did not make a statement to police until last year, also claimed that Benjamin’s head had appeared to “jerk suddenly” after one low collision.
“I saw Mr Kennedy pull Ben to his feet. He appeared to be okay,” added the witness who was dressed in his school uniform.
Barrister Ronan Daly, acting for Carrick Grammar, suggested that the teenager’s recollection was “wrong” and that Benjamin had not been pulled to his feet.
More at: Call for school concussion guidance
A tragic incident for the boy and family involved but do they have a point – are schools and parents sufficiently aware of the dangers of concussion and the latest guidelines on its management? Should all those potentially at risk – e.g. those playing contact sports – be made to sign an acknowledgement? Tell us what you think in the comments or via Twitter…