Family, friends and rugby league fans have all paid tribute to a “fantastic” teenage boy who died “playing the game he loved”.
Evan Hawksworth, who played for Stanley Rangers RLFC in Wakefield, died after suffering a head injury during an under-14s rugby league game on Sunday, the Press Association reported.
Described as a “freak accident”, his father Gary said: “Evan passed away playing the game he loved. He was never without a rugby ball in his hands. This is a tragic, freak accident and no-one is to blame.”
The West Yorkshire club said: “It is with great sadness we have to report the passing of our talented player Evan Hawksworth. RIP Evan and fly high with the angels.”
Under-14 coach Steven Abraham described him as a “fantastic lad” that had been tragically taken from them.
“It is with a heavy heart that I am letting you all know that Evan has passed away this afternoon,” he said.
“Evan’s family are overwhelmed by the support they have been shown over the last 48 hours.
“They explained that Evan’s injury was a freak accident and it was playing the game that he loved so much.
“Evan you were a fantastic lad so tragically taken from us. You certainly leave a stamp on my heart, young man. RIP Evan Hawksworth.”
Tributes poured in on social media, including from other rugby league clubs.
The club, in conjunction with the RFL Benevolent Fund, has set up a JustGiving page to help support his family.
“He will be missed by all who knew him and was a very special young man,” the page reads.
Kim Nicholson commented: “I had the good fortune to teach Evan, he was and still is the most wonderful student I have ever encountered. I cannot express the amount that he will be missed by all that knew him.”
To date, more than £7,000 has been donated to help Hawksworth’s family.