TRIBUTES have been paid to a teenage rugby player who died following a “freak accident” during a game where he was hit on the head.
Evan Hawksworth, 14, fell ill during a match between Stanley Rangers and Batley Boys on Sunday but died on Tuesday despite a battle by surgeons to stop a bleed on his brain.
His 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. He hit his head. It caused a brain bleed and the pressure on his brain was too much.
“We didn’t get him back. All we are doing now is just sleeping then waking up and crying.
“Evan was an inspiration on and off the field and he died what he loved doing.”
His school, the Rodillian Academy in Wakefield, told how Evan was known for being an “outstanding sportsman” but loved other aspects of school.
In a statement the school added: “Evan was an exceptional young man; a popular student with staff and students alike, and he loved school.
“He was a keen and very talented drummer and was able to turn his hand to any aspect of music making.
“Evan was also passionate about cooking and one day wanted to own a restaurant.”
Stanley Rangers are hoping to host a fundraising event tomorrow and the club’s under 14 coach, Steve Abrahams said: “Evan you were a fantastic lad so tragically taken from us. You certainly leave a stamp on me young man. Fly high buddy.”
A JustGiving tribute page in honour of Evan’s memory has already raised £7,000 of a £10,000 target. To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/evan-hawksworth