London – A grandmother died after being hit on the head with a rugby ball while she watched her grandson play, an inquest heard.
Jennifer Selwood, 69, was rushed to hospital following the freak accident.
She was in a coma for two weeks before she died.
The opening of the inquest was told she died from a traumatic brain injury and secondary aplastic anaemia, which is associated with an increased risk of bleeding.
Mrs Selwood was watching grandson Ellis Rossiter, aged ten, play at Taunton Rugby Club in Somerset on January 12.
She was hit by a ball kicked by a player on an adjoining pitch. Her daughter Clare Rossiter said: ‘She told Ellis, “I’ll stay for another five minutes” and next thing she’s hit by a ball and falls to the ground. The paramedics said she had a concussion.’
Mrs Selwood was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital by ambulance and was met by her daughter who joked: ‘I thought you were watching rugby, not playing.’
But within an hour, the family were told that her injury was serious and she was taken to Bristol’s Southmead Hospital where she was in a coma for a fortnight.
Mrs Rossiter said: ‘We spent two weeks driving up to Bristol praying she was going to wake up.
‘Then they called us into her room and said, “We’re very sorry, this is the end of her life. There’s nothing we can do”. She died the following afternoon. It was a complete shock.’
Mrs Selwood leaves husband Colin, children Clare and Daniel – who coaches rugby to junior players – and four grandchildren.
She worked as a primary school dinner lady and at a restaurant.
Mrs Rossiter said: ‘Mum was the family compass. She was a huge part of our everyday life. She was everything to my dad.
‘Life revolved around the family. She was very happy, always laughing at something and full of fun.
She added: ‘We’re completely devastated, just broken. She’s really missed.
‘We’ve got a huge hole where she was. We feel robbed of a mum, grandmother and wife.’
Taunton Rugby Club chairman John Wrelton said: ‘It was a horrible and horrendous accident.
‘One of our young players’ grandmother was watching her grandson play like thousands of other grandparents all over the country.
‘We’re desperately sorry and our sympathies are with her family.’
Her funeral will take place today in Taunton. A full inquest will be held at a later date.