Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ronan Costello: Huddersfield Giants academy death 'accidental'

Ronan Costello Image copyright Huddersfireld Giants
Image caption Ronan Costello was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary

The death of a 17-year-old rugby player was "accidental", an inquest has ruled.

Ronan Costello, of Huddersfield Giants Under-19s, died three days after he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury against Salford Red Devils on June 11.

Bradford Coroner's Court heard Mr Costello slipped during a tackle and hit his head on the ground.

Assistant coroner Philip Holden said: "This was a tragic death of a really promising young rugby player."

He added that the teenager was "doing what he loved".

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Mr Costello, who started playing rugby league at the age of six and signed professionally in 2015, suffered the brain injury after being tackled by Salford's Adam Jones and Aaron Moore.

The inquest was told the tackle was not malicious.

'Extremely traumatic'

Mr Jones described his tackle as "perfectly good", but said he had considered giving up rugby after the "extremely traumatic" incident.

The inquest heard Mr Costello had the ball and appeared to "slip or stumble" as he was tackled before his head or chin came into contact with Mr Jones's shoulder, causing him to fall backwards.

The back of his head hit the ground and he lost consciousness and began fitting.

After medical treatment on the Huddersfield's Dram Centre pitch, Mr Costello was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary for brain surgery but was pronounced dead on 14 June.

A police investigation found the death was not suspicious.

Ronan's father, Martin, said he did not hold Salford players responsible for "a tragic accident".

A statement on behalf of the family added: "He loved playing rugby league and was proud to play for Huddersfield Giants."

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