Teen dies from rugby injury

Jordan was knocked out after a suspected head clash yesterday.
Jordan was knocked out after a suspected head clash yesterday.
A young rugby player has died after being critically injured during a game in Whangarei yesterday.

Jordan Kemp was admitted to Auckland City Hospital yesterday, and was placed in an induced coma with a suspected brain bleed.

The talented Otamatea Hawks hooker, a triplet, was knocked out after a suspected head clash during the Otamatea v Marist game.

The former Auckland Grammar 1st XV player was put in an induced coma by ambulance staff at the ground and taken to Whangarei Hospital. He was then airlifted to Auckland City Hospital.

He was pronounced dead today, the Northland Rugby Union (NRU) said in a statement.

The NRU "along with the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Rugby Foundation are currently working with all parties to support the family through this tough time.

This is a tragedy for all concerned, in particular Jordan's immediate whanau and friends," the statement said.

"The NRU are currently working through the serious injury investigation process and will forward this through the appropriate parties investigating his death.

"Jordan was a young man with a passion for life and for rugby, he was a great guy from an awesome family and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

"Counselling for his fellow club members has been arranged. This counselling is also available to anyone who requires it by contacting Greg Shipton at the NRU. All contacts are confidential."

Jordan's sister Crishla posted a Facebook update late last night saying he was out of the operating theatre and was on life support.

"They don't think he's gana make it over night . but my brother is fighter and has to make it he has to!!!!

"He's the other half of me and god only knows the plan he has for my brother but don't take him from us now!

"Kia kaha my bro .born together , die together." (sic).

This morning Miss Kemp posted a further update saying it "would mean the world" if family could visit Kemp.

Several replied to say they were on their way, while others posted support messages such as "kia kaha whanau" and "give the bro my love".

Jordan Kemp, 17, had been back playing for five weeks after a serious head injury at the start of the season.

Crishla Kemp was in the chopper with him yesterday and sent emotional messages to family and friends via Facebook.

"I'm in the helicopter with him ... can't talk, I'm so scared ...

"I don't want this to be the last time I get to hold him please please don't take him from me," she said.

"They said they don't know if they can save him ... "

It is understood Kemp was being monitored for a brain bleed.

He is the grandson of Russell Kemp, a prominent rugby coach and Maori leader from Kaiwaka.

Otamatea club president Kevin Robinson was at the game and said Kemp went to the ground after the hit but then got to his feet.

"He fell down but then got up and staggered around before falling over again," Robinson said.

"He was looked after immediately and the game was called off."

In February Northland Rugby implemented a "blue-card" system giving referees the ability to order concussed players from the field for a minimum of three weeks.

Kemp had been blue-carded at the start of the season, had four weeks off and had been cleared five weeks ago.

Robinson was with Kemp the first time he was knocked out with a knee to the head.

"That was awful. It was not nice to see," Robinson said. However, he didn't think Kemp was cleared too early and said the teen had made a full recovery.

"He was being considered for the Northland under-18s, he was doing really well," Robinson said.

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