Former student rugby player left with brain damage after second head injury

Tuesday 04 March 2014 22.57
Lucas Neville is taking the action against St Vincent's Hospital and St Michael's College
Lucas Neville is taking the action against St Vincent's Hospital and St Michael's College

A Leaving Certificate student was left brain damaged after he suffered a second head injury at a rugby match, having already been injured during training two weeks earlier, the High Court has heard.

Lucas Neville from Elgin Road, Ballsbridge in Dublin has begun a €5m legal action against his former school and St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin.

The court heard the now 22-year-old suffered a head injury while training with St Michael's College on Ailesbury Road in Dublin on 11 November 2009.

He was taken to St Vincent's Hospital twice after the first injury but an MRI scan was not carried out.

Seventeen days later he was brought on from the subs bench in the last few minutes of a second team schools match. He suffered another head injury and collapsed at the side of the pitch.

It was later discovered that the first injury had caused a chronic brain bleed and the second injury caused an acute bleed, which was life-threatening.

Mr Neville had surgery, was hospitalised until early the following year and spent a further five months in rehabilitation. He will need continuing rehabilitative care into the future, the court was told.

The court heard he acted in films from the age of six and had appeared in television commercials.

Since the accidents, he has had to sit his Leaving Certificate four times in an attempt to gain entry to his chosen college course.

In his High Court action, he claims St Michael's College failed in its duty by allowing him to play so soon after the first injury.

It was also claimed the school failed to honour an undertaking to his mother that he would not be allowed to play rugby for at least three weeks after the first injury.

It was also claimed St Vincent's Hospital failed to carry out a CT scan when he came to the emergency department after the first injury, having presented with symptoms including loss of consciousness, mild confusion, headache and vomiting.

He was brought back to hospital four days later still suffering from headaches and his mother requested an MRI scan but was refused.

His mother also contacted the school to ensure he would not play rugby and was assured it was the school's policy that no player would be allowed back on the pitch within three weeks of receiving a concussion.

Liability has been admitted by both defendants in the case and it is now before the High Court for assessment of damages.

The hearing continues tomorrow.