News & Resources

Important new safety improvements for hockey identified following the death of 14 year old player

8th October 2020

Nicholas Moss instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer (both pro bono) represented the family of Luke Hobson, in the inquest into Luke’s death. Luke sustained multiple skull fractures and impact brain apnoea on 28 March 2019 when hit by another player’s stick during a training session at his local club.

The incident occurred about ten minutes into the planned session time and about 40 minutes after sunset, when some of the junior players were informally warming up; the coaches were not immediately supervising the session as they were focussed on turning on the pitch flood lights which had been taken off the normal automatic timer as it was the end of the season. Another boy (granted anonymity) was attempting to flick up and volley shots at the empty goal when he hit Luke forcefully, but entirely unintentionally, on his backswing.

The Coroner concluded that the lighting and lack of supervision may have contributed to the death but could not be said probably to have done so. Those issues were nevertheless recorded in box 3 as part of how Luke came by his death, with a conclusion of accidental death.

After Luke’s death, the club introduced new procedures to prohibit junior players going onto the pitch before the coaches are present and to ensure that no hockey activity takes place until the flood lights are on.

Recognising the important wider lessons to be learnt, in particular over mandatory coach-supervision of all junior hockey activity using sticks or balls, England Hockey has been liaising with the family and the club over significant new safety guidance. That guidance is being finalised taking into account the further evidence heard at the Inquest. The key change will be absolute clarity that, given the head injury risks, junior players must not warm up informally at the start of a session using sticks or balls unless qualified coaches are on the pitch supervising.

As well as the new guidance, injury reporting to England Hockey will be strengthened to better monitor head injury risks and coach education is to be amended. Recognising the action already planned, the Coroner will be making a preventing future deaths report to England Hockey in these areas. The Coroner has reserved a decision on concerns raised by the family about the inadequacy of investigations by the police and Local Authority.

England Hockey’s new safety guidance is be dedicated to Luke’s memory.



View External Link



Related Barristers

Nicholas Moss QC

Nicholas Moss QC
Year of Call: 1995
Year of Silk: 2021


Close X

TEMPLE GARDEN CHAMBERS is a market leading set with recognised excellence in a myriad of practice areas with awarded leaders in twelve specialist areas. TGC has the privilege of being well placed in the Temple and The Hague with superb facilities.

Currently consisting of 17 silks and 60 juniors with outstanding leadership and a long established clerking team acknowledged for their exceptional client services and business development, we are keen to expand upon our key areas.

To accommodate the growth in our core practice areas we are inviting applications from established practitioners and/or teams to further enhance our excellent reputation in the following fields:

• Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
• Inquests & Inquiries
• Health & Safety
• Costs & Litigation Funding

TGC is widely recognised for its friendly ethos and its commitment to Equality & Diversity and Wellbeing. We are especially keen to encourage applications from underrepresented groups at the bar – women, people with disabilities, those from ethnic minority groups and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Applications will be treated with the strictest confidence and should be addressed to the Head of Chambers, Keith Morton QC kmorton@tgchamber.com

In advance of any formal application both Keith Morton QC and Dean Norton (Senior Clerk) would be delighted to have a confidential discussion. To arrange a meeting please contact Dean on 020 7842 8641 or dnorton@tgchambers.com