Compulsory training for treating injuries linked to concussion should be introduced to schools in Northern Ireland, an inquest has heard.
Neal Kennedy, a rugby coach at Carrickfergus Grammar, made the proposal in a letter to sporting authorities a year after a pupil died after collapsing on the pitch.
Ben Robinson, from the Co Antrim town, was playing for the school in January 2011 against Dalriada High School in a Medallion Shield game.
The 14-year-old schoolboy collapsed after making a tackle in the last minute of the game.
He was involved in a series of heavy tackles, one of which left him on the ground holding his head. He subsequently died from brain injuries.
The letter, sent to the Ulster Schools Rugby Committee, was read out during the inquest in Belfast by the school principal, Kieran Mulvenna.
In it, Mr Kennedy expressed how he still felt “unprepared” in dealing with the possibility of such a serious incident and claimed coaches lacked adequate advice.
He said that following Ben’s death |13 members of staff including himself attended a seminar at Ravenhill, Ulster Rugby's headquarters, about dealing with concussion.
But he said he was “disappointed” at the overall turnout and suggested making attending such seminars mandatory.
“This should be made compulsory for coaches working with underage or adult players,” he said.
In a reply, however, it was suggested that instead a module specifically on concussion could be introduced to coaching courses. Mr Mulvenna said he believed it would be helpful if there was an agreed set of protocols that would be “universally accepted and applied”.
He said he believed it was a “systemic issue” that went beyond the two schools that were playing that day.
A lawyer for the Robinson family, Gabriel Ingram, asked Mr Mulvenna about new guidelines — the SCAT2 document — introduced by rugby authorities in |May 2011. But Mr Mulvenna said he did not think the coach at the school found it “a particularly helpful document”.
Earlier, Dr Paul Loan, an unofficial medical official for Dalriada who treated Ben at the scene, was asked about the safety guidelines.
The consultant anaesthetist at Causeway Hospital in Coleraine had been watching his son play.
“I think it is a step in the right direction,” he said.
The inquest continues.