Sports Stars Highlight Head Injury Issues

New Campaign Launched In Northern Ireland


A new campaign has been launched in Northern Ireland to highlight the dangers of head injuries.

Ulster Rugby star Dan Pienaar will be one of the big names involved in the Recognise and Remove campaign, which will involve leaflets and posters, and is aimed at schools.

Education minister John O’Dowd and sports minister Caral Ni Chuilin also attended the launch.

The campaign has been devised in the wake of the death of 14-year-old Benjamin Robinson in 2011. The teenager from Carrickfergus suffered a blow to the head during the game and was concussed, but was allowed to carry on playing and died after suffering a second impact.

An inquest into the tragedy last September concluded he had been killed by what has been labelled second impact syndrome, where swelling in the brain caused by the initial impact makes it more vulnerable to severe damage in the event of a second blow.

The judge at the inquest said it was the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland and possibly in the whole of the UK, but the teenager's parents argued he should have been taken off the field after the initial injury. His father, Peter Robinson, has launched the campaign in a bid to ensure no other player suffers the same fate.

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

"We can't leave it to ask the player themselves are they OK to carry on. Because it's a brain injury, they're going to suffer from daze and confusion.

"It's similar to asking a drunk driver if it's OK to drive."

The issue of brain injuries sustained in sport was raised in November last year, after a Premier League football match in which Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris suffered concussion after being knocked out.

Despite this, he was allowed to play the rest of the game by the club's medical staff. However, he was sidelined for a period after medical tests at the training ground the following week.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious head or brain injury as the result of an accident, our serious injury claims team could help you claim compensation. Visit our Brain & Head Injury Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The issue of concussion in sport has been thrust into the spotlight in recent months and this is yet another example of another important initiative aimed around ensuring that sportspeople are protected from the potential dangers which could arise from such injuries.

"Having worked first-hand on behalf of head injury victims and their families, we have seen numerous cases which have shown the massive, life-changing consequences that such problems can have.

"It is vital that research continues to gain a better understanding of the effects of concussion and head injuries, while work should also be ongoing to ensure that people of all ages – including sportspeople – are protected from the risk of suffering such problems."
Stephen Nye, Partner