RAF airman dies from head injury after rugby match with Army

Max Stephens
·2-min read
Senior aircraftman Scott Stevenson An RAF airman tragically collapsed and died from a head injury after suffering several heavy blows in an inter-services rugby match but refusing to come off, - Solent News & Photo Agency
Senior aircraftman Scott Stevenson An RAF airman tragically collapsed and died from a head injury after suffering several heavy blows in an inter-services rugby match but refusing to come off, - Solent News & Photo Agency

An RAF airman has died from a head injury following an Army rugby match in which he refused to leave the pitch because he was “determined” to win the game.

Senior aircraftman Scott Stevenson suffered three significant blows to his head during the inter-services match, an inquest heard.

Footage of the match shows Mr Stevenson looking dazed and confused after being hit on the left side of his head by a player's knee before falling unconscious minutes later.  

Emergency services airlifted him from the pitch in Aldershot, Hants, to St George's Hospital, London, but the 25-year-old died three days later in the company of his parents.

Christopher Wilkinson, senior area coroner for Hampshire, New Forest, Portsmouth and Southampton, said: "Scott's strength of character, with his absolute dedication to the game and his team, may have prevented him from raising a flag to say he wasn't feeling good.".

“I do believe he won't have told anybody that he wasn't feeling well because of his determination to get the match finished on a win," he added.  

His mother Donna Stevenson, who had been watching the match streamed online, told the inquest at Winchester Coroners' Court: "I've lost my son and my best friend. He was always there for me.

"When I watched that game online and I saw him go down, I knew that my world was changed forever.

"I knew that he was never going to come back, especially when I saw him in the hospital. I just knew then that I had lost him."

His father, Stephen Stevenson, told the inquest he had coached Scott from the age of five, adding: "There was a great affinity between us. I taught him how to tackle and he was one of the best.

"The saddest part of this is that I played the game longer than he was alive. I've had bangs to the head and been unconscious and I'm still here. It's tough to accept that."

He said: "For me, the legacy moving forward is that we need to educate players that when it comes to a head injury.

Mr Wilkinson recorded a verdict of accidental death due to a 'significant brain injury' incurred in the match on September 13 last year.