A teenager has died after suffering a serious head injury in a rugby league match.
Evan Hawksworth, 14, was hurt in a ‘freak accident’ playing for Wakefield club Stanley Rangers in an under-14s game against Batley Boys on Sunday when he suffered a head injury.
He was taken to Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield and transferred to Leeds General Infirmary but died yesterday afternoon.
His father Gary paid tribute to him, saying: “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.”
Under-14 coach Steve Abrahams called Evan “our great friend, teammate and all round good guy.”
Mr Abrahams added: “Evan you were a fantastic lad so tragically taken from us. You certainly leave a stamp on my heart young man. Fly high buddy.”
Tributes have been paid on social media.
Huddersfield Giants tweeted: “So sorry to hear of the tragic passing of Evan Hawksworth. Deepest condolences to his family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Warrington Wolves tweeted: “Such sad news. The thoughts of all at the Wolves are with Evan’s family, friends and all at Stanley Under 14s.”
Dewsbury Rams tweeted: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Evan Hawksworth who has sadly passed away. Thoughts also with Stanley Rangers.”
The Rugby Football League said it was deeply saddened.
Nigel Wood, Rugby Football League chief executive officer, said: “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 endeavour to ensure that his family and teammates are supported by the Rugby Football League Benevolent Fund and through Sporting Chance.”
A message on Evan’s Facebook page said: “It is with sincere regret that today Evan Hawksworth has had his life support machine turned off.
“Words simply cannot portray the injustice of the loss of a charismatic, heart of a lion - tackle anything, be involved with everything, award winning young man.”
Castleford Tigers said: “All our thoughts tonight are with Stanley Rangers U14s.
“We are saddened to let you know that Evan Hawksworth passed away today after sustaining an injury on Sunday. It was a freak injury playing the game he loved.”
Stanley Rangers, alongside the RFL Benevolent Fund, has set up a Just Giving page to support Evan’s family. Events will take place at Stanley Rangers’ ground on Friday.
The Just Giving page can be found here: https:// www.justgiving.com/fundraising/evan-hawksworth