Coroner rules paralysed rugby player's death was accidental

Published date: 30 January 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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THE death of a rugby player who was paralysed six  years ago while taking part in a scrum has been classed as accidental.

The story of Bryan ‘Yogi’ Davies, 56, who suffered a serious neck injury while playing as a hooker for Bala against Nant Conwy in April, 2007, touched the hearts of rugby fans all over Wales.

At an inquest held yesterday at Caernarfon, a conclusion of accidental death was recorded on Mr Davies who died at his home in Cae Croes, Bala, last August.

Mr Davies was captain in his retirement game when five minutes into the match the father of two was left tetraplegic after a scrum collapsed. He spent many months in hospital.

Tragically he died weeks before publication of an autobiography The Scrum that Changed My Life. The book tells the story of his life before the accident and his brave and inspiring fight for survival.

He left a widow Susan, a policewoman.

Coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones said it was quite clear the accident on the pitch and the death were linked. “Having a full inquest would be absolutely pointless. The circumstances of death in this case are well known.

“There’s a book written about what happened, it’s been on television.”

GP Dr Robin Davies told the inquest that Mr Davies’ spinal cord had been severed and he was unable to breathe by himself. He was completely paralysed from the neck down.

He had been in hospital at Wrexham and a rehabilitation unit. Mr Davies was eventually discharged home and was kept on a ventilator but was prone to the risk of infection.

Dr Davies said: “He had repeated chest infections. He was given antibiotics.”

However, Dr Davies said the antibiotics gave him “terrible abdominal pains” and Mr Davies was reluctant to have them.

The doctor said pneumonia due to tetraplegia, because of spinal cord injury, was the cause of death.

Mr Pritchard-Jones said: “All this goes back to what happened on the rugby field in 2007. What happened there was an accident.”

His widow thanked Dr Davies and his team for the “excellent” care of her husband. “I am very grateful,” she said.

The coroner said he was amazed Mr Davies survived so long. “That must have taken very good medical care,” he said.

Mrs Davies remarked: “He was a very determined person. He was in such good physical health at the time of the accident.”

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