Northern Ireland

Teenage rugby player 'looked dazed after heavy tackles'

Benjamin Robinson died from a brain injury
Image caption Benjamin Robinson died from his injuries

A hearing into the death of a teenage rugby player has been told he looked dazed after several heavy tackles.

The evidence was given to the inquest in Belfast by one of 14-year-old Benjamin Robinson's Carrickfergus Grammar school teammates.

Benjamin later collapsed and died in hospital from his injuries.

He was seen holding his head before collapsing during the game against Dalriada in January 2011.

His teammate who cannot be named for legal reasons, described how at one point during play Benjamin had asked him what was the score and who was winning.

He also recalled someone coming into the changing rooms after the match to tell them that their friend was fine, he just had concussion and had been taken to hospital.

Dr Michael Webb, medical director of Ulster Rugby, also gave evidence about the guidelines given to professional and schools rugby clubs in Northern Ireland.

He said the message is still not getting out to people generally about how to deal with head injuries.

He said that "we are playing catch up" with sports authorities in the USA on the issue of head injuries and said knowledge of concussion is constantly evolving.

The procedures for professional players are vastly different to those at adolescent levels he said.

However, the advice to coaches, managers and referees, he said, is still "if in doubt sit him out."

He also referred to the difficulties in identifying the symptoms of concussion because often players try to disguise the injury as they want to play on.