Rugby player died from brain injury a month after she was tackled

Sarah Chesters, 23, from Stoke-on-Trent, was hurt during a rugby tackle but walked off the pitch and continued to work for weeks before she died.

An inquest has heard that a young rugby player, who was passionate about getting more women into sport, died from severe brain injuries sustained in a game. A consultant neurosurgeon told North Staffordshire’s coroner’s court that her death was caused by multiple brain injuries, triggered by the initial blunt trauma to her neck. Sarah, a masters graduate, was playing for Longton RUFC in October last year when she was tackled to the ground minutes into the game. She declined hospital treatment despite complaining of pain in her collarbone and managed to walk off the pitch. Sarah continued her long commute to work as a research intern for the campaign group Women in Sport for the next few weeks. It was over three weeks later when she started to feel dizzy when arriving at work one day. She visited a walk-in centre and was advised to take several days rest, but that night her family made an appointment with an out-of-ours GP. Before Sarah could reach the appointment, however, she was violently sick and was rushed to Royal Stoke University hospital. Tests showed that she had suffered a stroke. Her condition worsened until she died 8 days later after coming off a life support machine. Doctors believe that the trauma to her neck led to damage to an artery, and then a blood clot let to the stroke. Sarah has been described by her club’s secretary, Robert Pilkington, as “a lovely girl to be around. “She was always full of life and put her heart and soul into everything she did. “The fact that she carried on as normal does not surprise me – she was always a fighter and had a true fighting spirit.” More than £1800 has been raised through a charity tournament at Manchester Metropolitan University in Sarah’s memory.
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