The parents of teenager who died after taking knocks to the head during a rugby game yesterday helped launch a campaign to raise awareness about concussions.
Peter and Karen Robinson whose 14-year-old son Benjamin was allowed to carry on playing despite suffering a concussion yesterday said they hoped “it never happens again”.
The teenager from Carrickfergus died after a rugby match in 2011.
Launching the campaign along with Benjamin’s parents Education Minister, John O’Dowd, and Sports Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín highlighted the dangers of concussion in children and young people.
Starting today, informative leaflets and posters will be distributed to children, schools and sports clubs across the north. Teachers and coaches will also receive a pocket Concussion Recognition Tool™ to help them identify indicators of the head injury.
The materials were developed, in English and Irish, by the Department of Education and Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, with input from the Chief Medical Officer and the Health and Safety Executive NI.
Speaking at the launch event at the Queen’s Sport Upper Malone complex, Minister O’Dowd said: “A child can sustain a head injury in many different situations: it could be while playing sport, even one with minimal contact or from a fall in the playground, corridor or even the classroom. I therefore want to make sure that schools, teachers and children themselves are well informed about the risks that can arise from injuries to the head.
“This is why I wrote to all schools last November to highlight the dangers of concussion and why I have worked with my Executive colleagues to produce these important leaflets and posters so that the message is clear – ‘Recognise and Remove’.
“I want young people, teachers and coaches to be able to recognise the signs of concussion. Teachers and sports coaches are being given a special pocket-sized Concussion Recognition Tool™ to help them spot the signs of the injury. My message is really simple: take no risks, if a young person displays any of the signs of concussion, then they should be removed immediately from whatever activity they are involved in.
“My focus on concussion comes after the tragic death in 2011 of Benjamin Robinson following a head injury he sustained while playing a school rugby match. I am committed to doing all I can as Education Minister to make sure that no such devastating loss happens again.”