Concussions Can Kill

Dave.Ferguson Dave Ferguson

Late January in 2011, 14-year-old Ben Robinson played rugby union for his school. After being treated three times for blows to the head and sent back onto the field following each occasion, he collapsed and later died in hospital.

Ben took too many hits to the head in too short a period of time. His death could, and should, have been prevented.

Ben is one of the rare documented cases in the world of young athletes dying from Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). An athlete who is recovering from a concussion, but who has not yet fully recovered, is at risk for SIS that could result tragically in death.

Typically, the athlete will experience post-concussion signs and symptoms after the first head injury, such as headache, visual, motor or sensory changes or mental difficulty, especially with the thought and memory process. Before these symptoms have cleared, which may take minutes, hours, days or weeks, the athlete returns to competition and receives a second blow to the head, which can cause massive swelling in the brain.

The coroner said Ben was the first person in the UK to die of Second Impact Syndrome while playing rugby.

Dr. William P. Meehan III, concussion expert and director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Children’s Hospital Boston states in his book, Kids, Sports, and Concussion that, “although second impact is rare, it has a devastating effect on those involved. Those who do survive second impact syndrome are neurologically devastated.”

Each year, tens of millions of young people participate in organized sport.

Death from sport-related head trauma, although devastating in every case, occurs less than death by other causes. Since Ben died, his dad has become an advocate for change in youth sports at all levels of government and leagues.

Peter Robinson makes some valid points:

  • There should be a chain of health-and-safety procedures in place.
  • Responsibility for safety should be shared by players, coaches, referees and parents.
  • There are ways to reduce the risk and save lives.

He stresses that with measures in place, Ben’s concussion would have and should have been spotted. His son would have been removed from the pitch, and he may have survived. Peter shares with us, his heart wrenching story of how Ben’s death has altered his family and his life.

Join us for this pre-recorded interview at BEYONDtheCheers on blogtalkradio on Wednesday, July 9th at 7PM EST.

You can also listen each Friday at NOON to our repeat broadcast on AMFM247. Dial-in TOLL FREE 1-877-357-2448 in Canada and United States to ask a question, or email in advance. Listen to any BtC episode at any time → via iTunes Radio on any iPhone, iPad or on iTunes.


PLAY T3 Trivia and WIN the DVD “Head Games”

Q1. How old was Ben Robinson when he died from Second Impact Syndrome?

Q2.  List 3 signs or symptoms of concussion.

Q3.  What sport was Ben playing when he suffered repeated blows to the head?

Simply provide your answers in the comment section below! A winner will be announced on the show!

Tags: ben robinson, beyondthecheers, concussion, concussion experts, second impact syndrome