A 14-year-old schoolboy has died in hospital after collapsing during a school rugby game in Co Antrim on Saturday.
Ben Robinson, a pupil at Carrickfergus Grammar School, was being treated in the intensive care unit of Royal Victoria Hospital.
He was playing for his school against Dalriada High in the Medallion Shield when he fell |ill suddenly.
Ben collapsed after making a tackle in the last minute of the game and was treated by a consultant doctor who was pitch-side.
School vice-principal Osy Graham said the year 11 pupil would be “sorely missed” by staff and fellow pupils.
And he paid tribute to the teenager saying, “Ben would be one of those really lovely teenagers who is a good representative of young people.
“We were very proud to have him as a member of the school community, he was very committed to what he was doing. He |thoroughly loved his rugby, his father did as well.
“When we were informing staff and pupils that he was in intensive care and that things were very bleak, everyone was stunned. He was very well liked.”
Mr Graham said that yesterday was particularly hard as staff had to break the news to Ben’s fellow classmates.
“In particular his year group, year 11 and his sister’s year found the news hard to take. We had a series of assemblies to inform pupils and the North Eastern Board provided a counselling service for pupils.”
The Board of Governors also paid tribute.
“Ben brought heart to everything he did, and that was very evident in how well he played for the school on Saturday morning.
“His parents have every right to be deeply proud of him.
“Ben's loss will obviously be felt keenly by many, many pupils throughout the school, but most especially by his older sister, Holly, whom we shall all be doing our |utmost to support.
“We have arranged for |counselling to be made available and our pastoral care team |will make it their priority to |help pupils through these tragic days and the weeks and months beyond.
“We shall also be opening a book of condolence so that staff and pupils have the chance to convey to Ben's family their deep regrets and yet many happy memories of a boy who brought so much to his life and the lives of those who knew him.”
The Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union said that it was “with sincere regret” that it had learned of Ben's death, after his collapse during the match on Saturday.
An IRFU spokesman said: “The heartfelt condolences of the IRFU Ulster Branch and the entire rugby fraternity are extended to Ben's parents, family and all at Carrickfergus Grammar School at this time.”