‘Ben was making a distressing rasping noise . . . and they played on’

Posted: 29th March 2022

Schoolboy Ben Robinson died on the pitch after taking four blows to the head in one game. In an extract from a new book, his parents recall the lead-up to their son’s death, amid a culture of complacency around head knocks that viewed injured players as ‘drama queens’

 

head knocks that viewed injured players as ‘drama queens’

The doctors who attended to Robinson, left, pictured with his father Peter, top right, said that the damage to his brain resembled that from a car crash. Right, Peter and Karen attend the inquest into Ben’s death
The doctors who attended to Robinson, left, pictured with his father Peter, top right, said that the damage to his brain resembled that from a car crash. Right, Peter and Karen attend the inquest into Ben’s death

His mother Karen wanted him off at half-time. She remembers when they first arrived, the match had already started, and her first glimpse of the game was Benjamin colliding into another boy. The physicality involved stopped Karen in her tracks. She had never seen him play that hard and aggressively. “And the impact was such that his upper body kind of whipped back,” she says.

There would be a second hit, Karen remembers. Benjamin had remained on the ground with the referee and the coach with one of Benjamin’s team-mates, standing over him, hiding his body from the crowd.

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