THE principal of Dalriada has paid tribute to the teenager who tragically died following a rugby match against the Ballymoney school.
Ben Robinson, a 14-year-old pupil at Carrickfergus Grammar School, collapsed while taking part in a Medallion Shield game against Dalriada on Saturday of last week, when he fell ill suddenly just minutes before the final whistle.
The year 11 pupil received immediate treatment from a father of one of the Dalriada players, who is in the medical profession, before being rushed to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, where he later died.
A spokesperson from the coroners’ office confirmed that a post-mortem had found the teenager died as a result of a “diffuse axonal” injury (a traumatic brain injury).
Speaking to the Times Mr Tom Skelton, Headmaster of Dalriada explained: “Our Medallion rugby team travelled to Carrickfergus Grammar School to play in the Medallion Shield. Whilst there one of the Carrickfergus players collapsed during the game.
“The father of one of our players who was watching the match and is a consultant anaesthetist, immediately treated the player on the touchline.
“However he instantly realised that the situation was very serious and travelled with Ben to the Royal Hospital.”
Tragically Ben died in hospital the following Monday afternoon, with his family at his bedside.
Mr Skelton, said the mood at the school was “sombre” as the players came to terms with the terrible news.
He continued: “Obviously our players were extremely shaken up by the whole incident and many parents who were at the match were also very distressed. For this to happen really is every parents’ worst nightmare and our thoughts and prayers are with Ben’s family and friends.
“We held a number of meetings with our players during the week to talk about what happened. We are trying to support the boys as best as we possibly can.
“Dalriada was represented at the funeral by members of the Medallion team, parents, Mr Brian Dillion, Chair of Governors and myself. It was a very sad, emotional occasion.
“Ben was a popular boy and it is just unbelievable that someone so young going out to play rugby for their school can lose their life in such circumstances — it is just tragic.”
In a statement, the governors, staff and students of Dalriada also offered their condolences to the Robinson family.
They said: “The sudden death of Ben in such tragic circumstances has greatly shocked and saddened us all.”
Friends of the teenager have also left poignant tributes on a social networking website.
One wrote: “Ben died doing what he loved, so that makes things a lot better. Rest in Peace Ben.”