“When he does move, he puts his hand to the back of his head… “I don’t know how he gets up from that, and I don’t think the tape shows it. Concerned, she began to follow his movements from the side of the pitch.
“I could see him, he wasn’t that far from me,” she said.
Originally a football player, it wasn’t until he went to the school that he grew into rugby.She and Ben’s father, Peter, described their son as “the most loyal, loving kid ever”, who “loved a joke and a laugh and talking” and was a huge Manchester United fan.The night before the fatal match, he had spoken to her about not letting anybody down and making sure that he did the best he could. Karen gave him a lift to the rugby grounds and arrived back just after the match had started.She said from the beginning she felt anxious about seeing him on the pitch.“People talk about the rare case of Second-Impact Syndrome, but I suppose I think about it as, well, concussion isn’t rare,” says Peter.
“Put it this way, if Ben had been taken off, second-impact wouldn’t have happened.” They spoke to all the Education and Sports ministers across Britain and Ireland, with leaflets launched to focus on concussion.“I called out to him again and he turned around, just with his hands upwards, and he said ‘I don’t feel right’.And I’m about to say [come here], but he’s sucked back in to the game”.When he arrived at the hospital, a consultant told him that Ben’s brain injuries were like something they would usually see following a car accident.Two days after the match, Ben’s life support system was turned off.The leaflets use phrases such as “If in doubt, sit them out,” and “Concussion can be fatal”. the more eyes and ears around the pitch, the safer the environment for the child playing,” said Peter. The aftermath Karen said that their lives have been ‘shattered’ by Benjamin’s death. Peter described how walking into the RTE studio, he and Karen had been behind a group of boys walking out of school. It just adds to the pain ‘cos you realise ‘no, this is real.