Young New Zealand rugby union player dies following on-field injury

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The New Zealand Rugby Union
Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Nineteen-year-old Wellington Football Club Colts player Daniel Baldwin hurt in grade match north of Porirua

A 19-year-old rugby player from Wellington has died after suffering an on-field head injury last Saturday.

Daniel Baldwin was hurt in a match at Ngati Toa Domain, north of Porirua, and was placed in an induced coma in a critical condition.

He died on Wednesday night, a family statement said on Thursday.

The cause of the injury is unclear, but witnesses have reported to the Wellington Rugby Football Union that Baldwin was involved in a first-half collision.

He was not removed from the field until late in the match, when team-mates noticed him struggling during a stoppage.

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Baldwin’s condition then deteriorated rapidly and an ambulance was called to take him to Wellington Hospital for brain surgery.

The New Zealand Rugby Union said in a statement it was “deeply saddened” by the news.

“Our thoughts and hearts are with Daniel’s family, friends, team-mates and with the Wellington rugby community who will all be shattered by this news,” said NZR general manager of rugby Neil Sorensen.

“Nineteen-year-old kids aren’t supposed to die playing sport, it’s distressing and so terribly sad.

“The immediate focus is ensuring Daniel’s family and his mates are fully supported. The Rugby Foundation is in contact with his family and his club and will be assisting at this horrible time.

“We will spend the coming days doing all we can to support their needs as they grieve their son, brother and mate.”