Quadriplegic rugby player sues for injury compensation

Young Hong Kong athlete wants damages for accident which made him a quadriplegic

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 1:26pm

A rugby player, who was injured and left a quadriplegic while representing Hong Kong in a 2010 tournament, is suing the International Rugby Board and the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union for compensation.

In two High Court writs, lawyers for Benjamin Kende claim the board and the union should compensate him for the injuries he suffered during an accident which took place at the Asian Junior Championships on August 22, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Hong Kong-born Australian was playing for the Hong Kong under-20s team at the championships. The game was organised and managed by the board and the union, the writs said. They said the accident arose out of the negligence or breach of duty of the board and union or their servant and agents.

Details of the incident are not provided in the court documents. Kende is claiming an unspecified amount of damages for the accident and subsequent medical treatments.

The accident took place five minutes into the first game of the championships when an opponent fell onto Kende's neck. Kende was diagnosed as having "sudden quadriplegia".

Jennifer Kende, Kende's mother, confirmed that her son suffered a spinal cord injury and was now adjusting to life as a quadriplegic with limited use of his arms and no use of his legs.

According to the website of the Ben Kende Foundation which was created by his friends and teachers in 2011, Kende was born and raised in Hong Kong and was an all-round sportsman.

Talking about her son, Jennifer Kende said: "He is adapting. It's not an easy life."

Kende was studying business at Sydney University's School of Commerce and would graduate in two years, she said.

She said the filing of the writ was "a formality" because there was a deadline to file a claim.

"We are friends with the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union. [Filing of the claim] is something the lawyers recommended," she said.

The lawyers were hired with the assistance of legal aid.

The union said it would not comment on the case as legal proceedings had begun. Spokesman Sean Moore said: "The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union and Hong Kong rugby community continues to extend its best wishes to Ben and will gladly extend all reasonable support possible to the Kende family through the HKRFU Charitable Trust as we have done since the accident."