Teenage rugby star Ronan Costello died as the result of a tragic accident.
The 17-year-old Huddersfield Giants Academy player suffered fatal injuries during a match but an inquest heard that no-one is to blame for the tragedy.
The talented back-row forward was playing for the Giants Academy Under-19 side against Salford Red Devils at the Dram Centre, Rawthorpe, on Saturday, June 11.
An inquest attended by several members of his family at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard there had been no maliciousness involved in the tackle which happened around 30 minutes into the match. The game was immediately abandoned and Ronan died 72 hours later.
The promising youngster from Quarmby had played rugby since the age of six and signed a professional contract with Huddersfield Giants in July 2015.
Witnesses at the match described how there had been no fighting or aggression among the players before Ronan was tackled by Salford’s Adam Jones and Aaron Moore.
Ronan, who had the ball, appeared to slip or stumble as he was tackled, causing his head or chin to come into contact with Mr Jones’s shoulder and resulting in him falling backwards.
The rear of his head hit the ground and he lost consciousness and began ‘fitting’.
He was given medical treatment on the pitch before being airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary where he had brain surgery but was pronounced dead three days later on June 14.
The inquest heard that the tackle was classed as “high” but could not have been avoided because of Ronan’s body position.
Ronan’s father, Martin, said he did not blame Mr Jones.
He said: “I would like the Salford players to know I do not hold them responsible and this was a tragic accident.”
In a statement read by coroner’s officer, Fiona Turner, Mr Jones, a plumbing apprentice, told how he was involved in the fateful challenge.
He described his tackle as “perfectly good” but said he had considered giving up rugby as a result of the “extremely traumatic” incident.
He said: “Because I was involved in the tackle, I felt responsible.
“It was just a normal tackle in the spirit of the game but knowing I wasn’t responsible didn’t stop me feeling that way.
“I’m still upset about what happened and always will be. I wish I could change what happened that day.”
Assistant Coroner Philip Holden concluded that Ronan’s death had been accidental.
Afterwards, his parents, Martin and Nichola released a statement through the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.
They said: “The family are absolutely devastated by the passing of Ronan.
“He loved playing Rugby League. He was proud to play for Huddersfield Giants.”