A STUDENT who received a blow to the head during rugby training but was days later sent on to play a match suffered brain damage as a result.
Such was the extent of Lucas Neville's injuries after the game that at one stage he received the last rites from a priest. He is now suing his school and hospital for €5m.
Mr Neville was 18 when he suffered serious head injuries while playing for a few minutes at the end of a school rugby match four years ago.
He was called on as a sub in that game just 17 days after receiving an accidental knee in the head during rugby training, the High Court heard.
Mr Neville (22) had acted in films from the age of six, recorded TV commercials and was on the second rugby team of St Michael's College, Ailesbury Road, Dublin, before he suffered the injuries in November 2009, the High Court heard.
He was a Leaving Certificate student when called from the bench at the end of the match against St Mary's Rathmines on November 28, 2009. He suffered another blow to the head during that game and collapsed on the edge of the pitch after the match ended.
His mother had told the school about him being concussed after getting the knee in the head during training on November 11, 2009, and was assured the school's protocol preventing any student with head injuries participating in contact sports for 21 days afterwards would be implemented, the court also heard.
Mr Neville believed he was on the sub's bench and would not have to play but he was asked to come on at the end of the match, his counsel, Denis McCullough, said.
The initial injury of November 11 had caused chronic bleeding and the second injury, a blow to his head, caused an acute bleed and the "real and substantial difficulties" suffered by Mr Neville, counsel said.
Mr Neville (22), of Pembroke Lawns, Ballsbridge, Dublin, has sued the school alleging it owed him a duty of care. He has also sued a nominee of St Vincent's Healthcare Group as owner of St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin over alleged negligence.
Liability has been admitted and the case is before Mr Justice Sean Ryan for assessment of damages only.
The damages claim includes a claim for €2.6m to meet future care costs and for almost €1m for loss of earnings.
It is alleged Mr Neville, due to his injuries, will never work competitively but he is striving to do as well as he can. He has completed six Leaving Certificate subjects since his surgery and hopes to study Applied Psychology.
Yesterday, the judge heard Mr Neville attended St Vincent's Hospital on November 11, 2009, after receiving an accidental kick in the head during rugby training.
A diagnosis of concussion was made and he was discharged to the care of his mother with head injury advice.
Michelle Neville told the judge they returned to the hospital four days later because her son was experiencing headaches and pain in his eye and she was very concerned.
She requested a CT scan of his head but was assured that was not necessary.
Mr Neville was prescribed certain medicines, discharged home, with advice to return if his symptoms continued.
Before he returned to school the following week, Ms Neville told the school about his symptoms and her concerns about him playing rugby.
However, on November 28, some 17 days after his initial injury, Mr Neville was asked to play in the match against St Mary's. After some days in the Intensive Care and High Dependency Units in Beaumont Hospital, Mr Neville was transferred back to St Vincent's for in-patient care.
He was later moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital where he remained from February 16, 2010, to May 12, 2010.