A former rugby player died in a freak accident at his clubhouse when he climbed onto a banquet table that collapsed, an investigation heard yesterday.
48-year-old Graham Turney broke his head on the ground at the Brockworth Rugby Club, Gloucester, and died in hospital two days later after emergency surgery failed to save him, he was told.
Mr. Turney had been in contact with friends at the club when the tragedy struck on March 14 this year, assistant Gloucestershire coroner Roland Wooderson said.
The coroner has registered an accidental death record on Mr. Turney, a carpentry manager from Sussex Gardens, Hucclecote, Gloucester.
Graham Turney, 48, died in a freak accident when he climbed onto a banquet table that collapsed beneath him. He broke his head on the floor, an investigation heard yesterday
Pictured here with his wife Sally, the former rugby player had met a group of friends who met regularly to catch up, club bar manager said
Sara Stevens, the manager of the club bar, told the judicial investigation that she saw Mr Turney – whom she knew under his nickname ‘Phanton’ – fell to the floor with a ‘loud crack’.
She worked all day at the club on Saturday, March 14, during which time a function had taken place in the bar, she said.
Mr. Turney was in a group of former players who met regularly to catch up. They were not rowdy or out of control and just had “a good afternoon,” she said.
“Around 8:40 a.m., I was loading the dishwasher when I saw Mr. Turney climbing onto one of the banquet tables used earlier in the day,” she said.
“In a few seconds, he slipped off the table and landed safely on his feet.”
Turney broke his head on the ground at the Brockworth Rugby Club in Gloucester and died in hospital two days later after emergency surgery failed to save him
The bar manager said she went on to empty the dishwasher and saw that Mr. Turney snipped the table legs back into place.
She added, “Mr. Turney was the type of man who went around and cleaned up after a job. He was always polite. He was not overly drunk at this event, but just happy like the rest of his group.
“But a little later I turned to look at the bar again and saw Mr. Turney standing on the same table and holding out his hands as he collapsed and he fell backwards.
“I then heard a loud crack when he hit the floor.”
Ms. Stevens said she looked at the club’s camera footage after the accident and realized that there were only a few seconds between the two incidents.
“It all happened so fast,” she said. “The table did not completely collapse the first time, but the second time one of the legs collapsed and collapsed while Mister Turney was on it.
The party table leg gave way as it climbed onto it, causing Mr. Turney to fall heavily to the floor and hit the floor
“A nurse who was a guest of the club immediately went to help Mister Turney and an ambulance was called.”
The judicial investigation was told that paramedic Edward Davey arrived a short time later and found Mr. Turney unconscious and in recovery position.
An ambulance backup team also arrived and they gently rolled Mr. Davey onto his back. They noticed a “ridge” running through his right temple.
Mr. Turney was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where emergency advisor Dr. Tom Llewellyn examined him and assessed that he had a large right fracture of the skull that required urgent neurosurgical treatment.
Both a nurse and a paramedic tried to help Mr. Turner before he was taken to the hospital and rushed to emergency surgery
Mr. Turney was immediately intubated and put on a ventilator and taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
On his arrival he was met by Dr. Crispin Wigfield and the hospital’s trauma team, where he was assessed and went straight to the theater.
But on Monday, March 16, Mr. Turney was pronounced dead at 12.57 pm and his organs were presented for transplant.
Dr. Wigfield said that Mr. Turney had died of extensive brain injury that led to extreme brain swelling.
The coroner said he accepted that the doctor’s cause of death was a traumatic extraural hemorrhage caused by a fall.
The medical examiner has registered a conclusion of accidental death.