Lily Partridge: Devon female rugby player dies from head injury sustained during training session

‘No-one ever had a bad word to say about Lily. She was the glue that stuck everyone together’

Kate Ng
Wednesday 09 December 2015 14:52 GMT

A female rugby player has died from a head injury suffered during a training session for her county squad.

Lily Partridge was hurt while playing and collapsed on the side of the pitch on Sunday. Her life support machine was turned off the following day at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital.

The 23-year-old zookeeper at Shaldon Wildlife Trust joined the Exonian Ladies Rugby squad in January 2014.

Squad captain Katie Lunnon said Ms Partridge had suffered “a couple” of concussions previously but took the recommended time out from playing and consulted a doctor before returning.

Her parents, Jeff and Liz, said Ms Partridge carried two donor cards and that her organs had been donated to help give a “gift of life to several people, which is the best present ever”.

“She has given all her life, and still gave even after her death,” they said.

“That was Lily all over, selfless… We are so proud of everything she did.

“No-one ever had a bad word to say about Lily. She was the glue that stuck everyone together. She was her own person and that is what we loved about her. She broke down barriers. She was a brilliant star in our lives for 3 years.”

Her family thanked and praised the people who cared for her at the pitch and the Exeter hospital medical staff who treated her.

Topsham rugby club said in a statement: “We are devastated to hear that Lily Partridge, a talented, vivacious and universally-loved founding member of Exonian Ladies rugby team, has died following a training session for Devon Ladies.

“Lily was an integral part of building our ladies’ team into a huge success and all of us who knew her are utterly heartbroken. The void that has been left in the hearts of her teammates and the wider club will be impossible to fill. We extend our deepest sympathies to Lily’s family and friends.”

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The Shaldon Wildlife Trust also issued a statement, saying: “We are deeply shocked by the sudden loss of our friend and fellow zookeeper Lily. There are no words for the sadness felt by our staff and volunteers.”

The Rugby Football Union (RFU), the governing body for rugby in England, is investigating the circumstances of the injury.

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