Belfast Telegraph

Carrickfergus parents who lost son to rare brain injury back concussion campaign

By Katrine Bussey

The parents of the Carrickfergus schoolboy who died from a rare concussive injury have welcomed a new awareness campaign by the Scottish government highlighting the dangers of concussion to youngsters.

Schools and sports clubs across Scotland will be sent a new leaflet with a "potentially life-saving message" about the dangers of concussion and how to recognise any signs for concern.

The new guidance advises coaches, teachers and parents on how to spot the signs of concussion and what action to take, and points out: 'If in doubt, sit them out'.

The campaign comes just months after last year's inquest into the death of 14-year-old Benjamin Robinson, who suffered a double concussion while playing schools rugby in 2011.

The September 2013 inquest into Benjamin's death found he died from a very rare type of traumatic brain injury called second impact syndrome, the first known injury of this type in the UK.

His parents, Peter Robinson and Karen Robinson Walton, attended yesterday's campaign launch in Scotland and are confident that Northern Ireland youngsters will soon have this safety message reinforced to them.

Mr Robinson said last night: "We know it is the minister's intention to follow suit and issue a similar leaflet and advice to Northern Ireland school children, but the exact timing for the launch has not been agreed yet."

Education Minister John O'Dowd and Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin met with Benjamin's parents in October. Mr O'Dowd followed this by issuing a letter to all schools, advising them of the inquest ruling and signposting them to the latest version of the Concussion Recognition Tool, which is used by sports coaches and teachers during activities.

A Department of Education spokesman confirmed last night: "The department will continue to take proactive steps to inform pupils, teachers and parents about the dangers of concussion."

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