Tributes to teenage rugby player who died after "playing the game he loved"

Stanley Rugby Club
Stanley Rugby Club
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A heartbroken rugby club has paid tribute tonight to a 14-year-old boy who was killed after being hit on the head during a mid-game 'freak accident'.

Evan Hawksworth was taken to hospital after falling ill during an under-14 match between Stanley Rangers and Batley Boys in West Yorkshire on Sunday.

The Stanley Rangers player, described as "a great friend and teammate" by the club, had been hit on the head - but 'no-one was to blame' for the injury.

But sadly rugby-mad Evan was pronounced dead today after surgeons attempted to stop a bleed on his brain.

In a statement, Evan's father Gary Hawksworth, 45, said: "Evan passed away playing the game he loved - he was never without a rugby ball in his hands.

"This is a tragic freak accident and no-one is to blame."

The club said there was no obvious incident which caused the injury and there was "no suspicion of foul play".

Evan was originally taken to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and subsequently transferred to Leeds General Infirmary.

Stanley Rangers are now hoping to host a fundraising event to raise cash for his family this Friday.

The team's under-14 rugby coach Steve Abrahams posted on Facebook: "It is with a very heavy heart that I am letting you all know that Evan has passed away peacefully this afternoon.

"Evan's family are overwhelmed by the support they have been shown over the last 48 hours. They explained that Evan's injury was a freak accident and it was playing the game that he loved so much.

"They have asked for privacy at this very difficult time, which I am sure everyone will appreciate."

He added: "Evan you were a fantastic lad so tragically taken from us. You certainly leave a stamp young man. Fly high buddy. RIP Evan Hawksworth."

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood added: "This is truly awful news and we are all so sad to hear of Evan's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone at Stanley Rangers at this time.

"We will ensure that his family and team-mates are supported by the Rugby Football League Benevolent Fund and through Sporting Chance."

A JustGiving page has been set up in Evan's memory. To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/evan-hawksworth.

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