Benjamin Robinson, from Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, was just 14 years old when he died playing a schools rugby match. He had been treated three times during the course of the game for blows to the head, only to be sent back into play each time.
He collapsed towards the end of the game and never regained consciousness. A coroner later found he died of second impact syndrome.
Tomorrow will mark four years since Benjamin’s death, and to honour his anniversary, a school in Tipperary has launched a local awareness campaign that has garnered national attention.
As part of their Young Social Innovators programme, students from Cashel Community School have designed a concussion logo for sportswear to act as a constant reminder to sportspeople of the importance of the ‘Three Rs’ — Recognise, Report and Rest.
Now the logo — a black triangle placed just under the back of the collar — has been adopted by the Tipperary senior football team after its manager Peter Creedon, a former member of staff at the Cashel school, became aware of the initiative.
“Concussion is a very serious issue and is being ignored by many coaches, parents and guardians nationwide, it is considered an issue that effects adults only.”
The students’ research found many young people mistakenly believe concussion only occurs when people get knocked out cold, and there is a misconception that it is OK to play on after a concussion.
Many players often don’t want to seem weak, by resting after a concussion, the research found.
As part of this first Concussion Awareness Week, the students will visit local primary schools giving workshops, where children will be encouraged to design their own concussion awareness posters featuring the student-designed character “Billie the Brain.”
Teacher Caitriona Ryan explained the students deliberately chose a unisex name for the character in order to highlight that concussion is an issue for all after they noticed previous awareness material was nearly always dominated by male figures.
As part of their research and promotion of the logo, the students have spoken with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Coaching Ireland, leading British neuropathologist Dr William Stewart and Dr Rod McLoughlin, IRFU’s head of medical services.
Their project has also received the approval of Benjamin Robinson’s parents Karen and Peter.