Northern Ireland

'Lessons will be learned' from Ben Robinson's death

Benjamin Robinson died from a brain injury
Image caption Benjamin Robinson, 14, died after a school rugby game in 2011

Education Minister, John O'Dowd, has committed to implementing any lessons to be learned from the tragic death of a young rugby player.

Ben Robinson, 14, from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, died after suffering concussion during a school rugby match.

At his inquest yesterday, the coroner found that he had died as a result of "second impact syndrome".

The schoolboy was in several heavy tackles before collapsing near the end of the game in January 2011.

The coroner at the hearing in Belfast said it was also "probably" the first such case in the UK.

The syndrome happens when a blow causes swelling to the brain before it has recovered fully from an earlier injury.

Mr O'Dowd said that although schools should already have a risk management process in place to deal with foreseeable risks, there may be more that could be done.

'The right guidance'

"Once I receive the coroner's report I will be giving it immediate and careful consideration to ensure we can provide schools with updated guidance as quickly as possible," he said.

"The safety and welfare of pupils is paramount and while I do want to provide schools with guidance as quickly as possible in response to this tragic event, I want to make sure it is the right guidance."

Mr O'Dowd said he would liaise with the chief medical officer to ensure his professional advice was included.

"I will also want to know how the Irish Rugby Football Union will update their guidance and training in light of this case," he said.

"I understand that Ben's father has indicated he would like to meet with me to discuss the way forward. I would be happy to meet with Mr Robinson as I look at what can and should be done."

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