Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Rugby star Ruan Pienaar and Tyrone GAA ace Joe McMahon back campaign in memory of tragic Ben Robinson

By Rebecca Black

Two of Northern Ireland's favourite sports have united to highlight the danger of head injuries.

Ulster Rugby star Ruan Pienaar and Tyrone GAA ace Joe McMahon joined the parents of a Carrickfergus schoolboy who died from a head injury to launch a new leaflet and poster campaign.

Ben Robinson (14), from Carrickfergus, died in 2011 during a rugby match. He had been allowed to carry on playing after being injured in the game.

His parents Peter and Karen have vowed to ensure the same tragedy never happens to any other child.

With this in mind, they started the 'Recognise and Remove' campaign which will see leaflets and posters delivered to schools.

Mr Robinson said he wanted lessons to be learned.

"Hopefully by raising awareness we can prevent any future tragedies," he said.

"The main words in our campaign are recognise and remove.

"With children, we can't risk it. If they receive a concussion, which is a brain injury, we have to treat it as such."

Mr Robinson said the decision over whether to play on needs to be removed from the person with the brain injury.

"We can't leave it to ask the player themselves if they are OK to carry on, because it's a brain injury, they're going to be dazed and confused," he said. "It's similar to asking a drunk driver if it's OK to drive."

Ben was in several heavy tackles before collapsing near the end of the game.

He had been momentarily knocked out at the start of the second half of play.

His parents had argued he should have been taken off the pitch at that point.

The inquest found the case to be the first recorded death due to 'second impact syndrome' in Northern Ireland.

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

Education Minister John O'Dowd, Sports Minister, Caral Ni Chuilin, Belfast Giants general manager Todd Kelman and Irish Football Association elite performance director Jim Magilton also attended the launch at the Dub in Belfast yesterday.

Belfast Telegraph


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