Young dad collapsed in Wigan hours after being injured on sports field

The family of a young Wigan dad who was a keen American football player who collapsed on a night out claim they have been left with more questions than answers after an inquest into his sudden death.

Thursday, 19th March 2020, 3:10 pm

Jack Welding, 22, had been out drinking with his father and friends in Wigan when he suddenly collapsed twice outside Joe’s Bar on Arcade Street in the early hours of October 6. He was taken to Wigan Infirmary but died there a short time later.

Coroner Rachel Syed concluded that “sports mad” Mr Welding, of Holton Way, Winstanley, died of a traumatic brain injury sustained from collapsing twice.

But Mr Welding’s family dispute the findings of pathologist Dr Naveen Sharma that the brain injury had been caused from a fall on the night out.

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Jack Welding with his son Joshua

They said he must have suffered the injury while training for American football team St Helens Cardinals the day before his death, something which Dr Sharma rejected during the inquest.

The inquest heard how it had been Mr Welding’s first training session with the Cardinals after he had become aware of the team through social media.

He had previously played non-contact American football and had spoken for a long time of play the full-contact sport.

Mr Welding’s dad Shaun told the inquest that his son had complained of stifness inhis neck and a headache after the incident.

He said: “Everything was fine before he got the knock playing the American football at St Helens Cardinals and he’d not been wearing equipment.

“Jack complained of a headache and stiffness in his neck after what happened and then he collapses twice in a short time on the night out.

“Something must have happened to cause him to collapse.

“My son didn’t just fall, he was 22 and fit and healthy.”

But Dr Sharma, who conducted a post-mortem examination, said the traumatic brain injury had not been sustained during him coming into contact with anyone while playing American football.

He said: “Externally there was a deep laceration on the back of his head and internally there was a haemorrhage in the same area.

“This was a very fresh haemorrhage .

“So I would say that the traumatic brain injury hasn’t been sustained during him coming into contact with anyone while playing American football.

“The traumatic haemorrhage is consistent with him falling on the path.

“Any catastrophic injury sustained from a blow playing American football would have meant he would have died far sooner.”

He added that the medical cause of death was a traumatic brain haemorrhage.

A toxicology report read out during the inquest said there were no drugs in Mr Welding’s system and some alcohol, which amounted to “around three or four pints.”

Born in Billinge, Mr Welding was a father to three-year-old Joshua who he had with partner Victoria Naylor, while he worked as an Architectural Assistant.

He was also a big fan of football and of rugby league, and was a passionate St Helens supporter.

After the inquest, Mr Welding’s mum Deborah Leah, his father Shaun Welding and partner Victoria Naylor, paid tribute to him, saying: “He was a loving father, the best dad in the world.

“Jack was also sensible and level-headed and you couldn’t ask for a better son.

“He was also the best partner in the world.

“Jack was not old enough to die and had everything to live for.”

Recording a narrative conclusion, coroner Rachel Syed, said Mr Welding died from a traumatic brain injury sustained following two collapses but said it was not possible to ascertain what had caused it.

She said: “Mr Welding died on October 6, 2019 at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, Wigan, following a brain injury sustained after two collapses.”