Female rugby player dies from catastrophic brain injuries after tackle
A talented young rugby player died from catastrophic brain injuries over a month after she was injured in a tackle during a game, an inquest heard.
Tragic Sarah Chesters, 23, was playing for her ladies’ rugby team on October 19 last year when she was bundled to the ground by a bigger opposition player.
The 5ft 2in full-back complained of pain to her collarbone but managed to walk off the pitch and even declined an offer of an ambulance or hospital treatment.
In the coming weeks she also carried on making a daily two-hour commute from her home in Milton, Stoke-on-Trent, for her job as a research intern with Women in Sport in London.
But an inquest heard the Masters’ degree graduate took a turn for the worse after she started being sick and feeling dizzy on November 13.
She was rushed to Royal Stoke University Hospital where tests revealed she had suffered a stroke.
Her conditioned rapidly worsened and she passed away on November 21 after coming off a life support machine.
Yesterday, North Staffordshire Coroners Court heard Sarah died from brain injuries which were probably triggered by the tackle as she played for Longton RUFC.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith said: ‘She was tackled, she went down.
‘When the injury occurred is not totally clear.
‘It may have been the result of the initial impact or the result of hitting the deck.’
Consultant neurosurgeon Simon Shaw told the inquest Sarah’s eventual death was caused by multiple brain infarctions.
But the ‘likelihood’ was the initial trigger had been blunt trauma to the side of the neck in the rugby tackle one month earlier.
This court heard this, in turn, had caused damage to an artery, with a blood clot then leading to the stroke.
Sarah’s dad Michael Chesters, 65, said his daughter had ‘loved’ rugby ever since she was introduced to it whilst studying at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Jez Moss, club manager at Longton RUFC, added: ‘Sarah was a valued member of our club both as a player and as a person.
‘We were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of her death.
‘Our heartfelt condolences go out to her friends and family.’