Parents of rugby player Benjamin Robinson issue legal proceedings

Governing bodies including IRFU and World Rugby named in case in Belfast High Court

Ben Robinson died as a result of second impact syndrome suffered in a match for Carrickfergus Grammar School in Januray 2011.

Ben Robinson died as a result of second impact syndrome suffered in a match for Carrickfergus Grammar School in Januray 2011.

 

The parents of Benjamin Robinson, the Carrickfergus Grammar School rugby player who died as a result of head injuries sustained in a rugby match in January 2011, have issued legal proceedings in Belfast High Court against a number of rugby institutions and two individuals.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Ulster Rugby, World Rugby, Carrickfergus Grammar School, the coach of the school team Neal Kennedy and the referee, David Brown, who officiated at the match have all been named in the writ. Proceedings in the matter are well advanced.

Benjamin (14) died in the Royal Victoria Hospital on January 31st 2011 as a result of head injuries sustained during this match. A statement to The Irish Times explains that legal proceedings have been taken “for negligence regarding concussive type injuries and the safety and management of the game and their failures in their duty of care owed to Benjamin.”

It is the first case of its kind to be taken in Ireland concerning a death due to Second Impact Syndrome, where an injury already sustained causes swelling to the brain and the player receives another blow that causes further injury and in this instance the death of the teenager.

“At Benjamin’s inquest, the Coroner determined that Benjamin’s cause of death was Second Impact Syndrome due to head injuries he sustained during the rugby match,” said the statement. “The Family’s legal team have gathered further evidence to confirm that Benjamin’s death was due to Second Impact Syndrome and was preventable.”

The statement alleges that there were numerous opportunities for those in charge to notice that Benjamin had sustained several concussive type head injuries.

The summons set out by the family solicitors, who are GR Ingram and Co, has gone out to six defendants. It contains the statement of claim, which outlines the allegations and the relief sought by the Robinson family.

The full statement reads:

“Benjamin sustained a serious head injury at Carrickfergus Grammar School during a Medallion Shield rugby match on 29th January 2011.

During this match, there were numerous opportunities for those in charge to notice that Benjamin had sustained several concussive type head injuries.

It is the case of Benjamin’s parents and family that Carrickfergus Grammar School, the Irish Rugby Football Union, the Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union and World Rugby were in charge of disseminating information with regard to the risks of concussion in rugby and therefore, the Coach of the schoolboy rugby team and the Referee should have been aware or should have had the means of being aware that concussion is dangerous and could result in death.

As a result of head injuries sustained during this rugby match, Benjamin died in the Royal Victoria Hospital on the 31st January 2011.

Karen Walton [Benjamin’s mother] and Benjamin’s family have issued Civil Proceedings in Belfast High Court against the School, the Coach, the Referee, the IRFU, the Ulster Branch of the IRFU and World Rugby for negligence regarding concussive type injuries and the safety and management of the game and their failures in their duty of care owed to Benjamin.

The Coach and the Referee were responsible for the safety of the players and those in control administratively: the School, the IRFU, the Ulster Branch of the IRFU and World Rugby, were responsible for ensuring that all parties were aware of the dangers of head injuries sustained playing rugby.

At Benjamin’s inquest, the Coroner determined that Benjamin’s cause of death was Second Impact Syndrome due to head injuries he sustained during the rugby match. The Family’s legal team have gathered further evidence to confirm that Benjamin’s death was due to Second Impact Syndrome and was preventable.

Proceedings are well advanced. A Writ of Summons has been served on 6 Defendants by GR Ingram & Co. Solicitors on behalf of the family. Our Solicitors and Counsel are in the process of drafting and issuing a Statement of Claim.”