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Brain injuries cause death of Grade 12 rugby player

A coach development manager with Rugby Canada says no sport is risk-free, but the priority of coaches, parents, schools, match officials and other involved parties must be the safety of the players. Data collected by the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program indicates that 449 rugby players between ages 15 and 19 suffered brain injuries in Ontario and other regions in the two years from 2012 through 2014. Discussions about concussions and brain injuries followed the recent death of a Grade 12 rugby player in another province.

Reportedly, the young rugby player suffered a head injury in a game during a high school tournament. Although it seemed insignificant at the time, the player collapsed later. He was rushed to a hospital where he died after a surgical procedure. The Rugby Canada manager says concussion management should be ongoing and not a one-off program. Although this governing body mandates annual concussion management programs for all coaches and referees at club level, it has no authority over schools.

The manager further stated that parents whose children show interest in playing rugby must make sure that the schools or clubs have concussion management programs. The institutions must be able to show that they have initiatives in place to minimize the risks of concussions. Some people do not realize that concussions are traumatic brain injuries.

Parents in Ontario who have to cope with a tragedy such as the death of a child who suffered brain injuries on a sports field might have questions about their legal rights. They could get answers about obtaining recovery of damages from an experienced personal injury lawyer. If there are grounds for a civil lawsuit, they could sue the coach, school or club and other responsible parties for negligence in safety and concussion management. If such a case is successful, they might receive financial relief to assist with funeral and burial costs and other economic and noneconomic damages.

Source: CBC News, "Player safety always paramount says Rugby Canada following recent death", Cody MacKay, May 18, 2018

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