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Student sues over brain damage in school rugby game


HEAD BLOW: Lucas Neville received last rites after injury

HEAD BLOW: Lucas Neville received last rites after injury

HEAD BLOW: Lucas Neville received last rites after injury

A STUDENT suffered serious brain damage following a blow to the head during a schools' rugby match – just days after he received a head injury during training.

Lucas Neville (22) received the last rites from a priest, such was the extent of his injuries, the High Court heard.

He is now suing his school, St Michael's College, Ailesbury Road, Dublin, and St Vincent's Hospital for €5m.

Mr Neville was 18 years old and a Leaving Certificate student when he received an accidental knee to the head during rugby training.


His mother had told the school about him being concussed after the incident 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.

But just 17 days later, on November 28, 2009, he was called from the bench to play the last minutes of a schools' match against St Mary's, Rathmines.

He suffered another blow to the head.

While he walked off the pitch after the match, he collapsed on the edge of the pitch and was rushed to hospital.

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 a chronic bleed 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, with an address at Pembroke Lawns, Ballsbridge, Dublin, has sued the school, alleging it owed him a duty of care while he was engaged in sporting activities on behalf of the school.

He had acted in films from the age of six, recorded TV commercials and was on the second rugby team before he suffered the injuries in November 2009.

Liability has been admitted and the case is before Mr Justice Sean Ryan for assessment of damages only.

The damages claim includes €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 struggle in his working life but he is striving to do as well as he can, has completed six Leaving Certificate subjects and hopes to study Applied Psychology.


Yesterday, the judge heard details of Mr Neville's medical treatment, including how St Vincent's Hospital diagnosed concussion after the first incident and discharged him.

He returned four days later, suffering from headaches and a pain in his eye. A diagnosis of infective sinusitis was made

The case continues.