Schoolboy dies after rugby collapse


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The Independent Online

A headteacher has paid tribute to a 15-year-old boy who died after collapsing during a school rugby match.

Caroline Hoddinott, headteacher of Haybridge High School and Sixth Form College in Hagley, Worcestershire, said Luke Chapman was a "much-loved son, grandson, friend and student" and said he would be missed "very much".

Luke was airlifted to Birmingham Children's Hospital yesterday afternoon after he collapsed on the rugby field during a game at Baxter College in Kidderminster.

Speaking on behalf of the governors and the Haybridge community today, Ms Hoddinott said the school's priority was "to help family, friends and the whole community through this difficult time".

She told reporters outside the school's gates this afternoon: "We are terribly shocked and upset by the tragic death of Luke Chapman.

"Luke, aged 15, was a much-loved son, grandson, friend and student and we will miss him very much.

"Our thoughts are with the family, friends, students and staff at this very sad time and the school will offer all the support we possibly can to all those affected."

Thanking local people for their thoughts and prayers, she added: "Our focus now is to help family, friends and our whole community through this difficult time.

"We would appreciate you respecting our privacy to give us the space to enable us to do this."

Ambulance crews were called to reports of a boy who had stopped breathing on the rugby field at Baxter College at around 4.30pm yesterday.

Attempts to resuscitate Luke were made before he was airlifted to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of ambulance crews and hospital staff, nothing could be done to save the boy and he passed away shortly after arriving at hospital."

Friends of the schoolboy tweeted messages of support this morning.

One tweeted: "RIP Luke Chapman, never forget the good memories x."

Another said: "Even though I didnt know you, a lot of my friends did. The whole of Hagley is silent. Rest in peace Luke Chapman."

Meanwhile. players and staff from Worcester Warriors and Worcester Rugby Football Club sent their condolences to the teenager's family and friends today.

In a statement, the Premiership club said: "Worcester Warriors and Worcester RFC would like to express sincere heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of an aspiring rugby player who died yesterday playing for his school, Haybridge High School in Hagley.

"Our immediate thoughts are with the family at this very sad time.

"We would also like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to his schoolfriends, his rugby club and the team they were playing.

"All parties have a close relationship with Worcester Warriors.

"Such sad news has a devastating impact on everyone involved in rugby and the news of such a tragic loss has devastated our entire rugby community."