The life-support machines keeping the head boy of a local school alive are to be switched off today. On Saturday he did not get up after a ruck. He was declared brain-dead yesterday.


Tommie apparently already had had a head injury during a rugby match last week, and had been warned not to play.

It saddens me to read this, having been heavily involved with First Aid when I was at school. I remember getting a lot of flack for telling boys twice my size to not play, or to take it easy. So it does not surprise me to discover that the boy was advised not to play, because he had sustained a head injury the previous week in another rugby match.

Much as it hurts me to say this, he was an obliviot for not listening to the advice. Concussion is a much more serious problem in school sport than any one would admit. At school level, the peer pressure to play is immense, not to mention the pressure of the coach and of the school itself. But when they allow someone who is already concussed to play again, then they too are obliviots.

To the parents of Tommie Watson, my deepest sympathies go to you for the loss of your son. To Gerrit Maritz High School, how dare you allow an already injured boy to play for the sake of whatever it might be. Pride? Competition? To impress the girls? Is it worth your head boy’s life? Do you realise that you are partly responsible for his death?

Shame on you.

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