Sydney: An elite hockey player died after being hit on the head by a ball in a weekend club match in Australia, Hockey Australia said on Monday.
Elizabeth Watkins, 24, was fatally injured while playing for her North Coast Raiders club, against Victoria Park Panthers, in a Western Australian State League game in Perth on Sunday.
Watkins, a former state junior representative, collapsed unconscious when the ball deflected off a stick and hit her on the head midway through the first half of the game, match officials said.
Attempts were made to revive her before an ambulance arrived. She was breathing when she was rushed to hospital, but died on the way. Elizabeth’s sister, Catherine Carrol, was playing alongside her and rushed to her side.
Hockey Western Australia has launched an investigation into the incident.
Hockey Australia chief executive Mark Anderson said Sunday was a very sad day for the sport. “On behalf of the entire hockey community I would like to express our support and sympathies to the Watkins family at this very sad time. Our thoughts extend to all involved at the North Coast Raiders Hockey Club,” he said.
“Hockey is a sport that is known for its strong sense of community. I know that members of our two national teams and players involved at all levels of our sport are saddened by this tragic event.
“The Kookaburras wore black arm bands in the final of the London VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament overnight at Olympic Park out of respect for Lizzie and her family.
“I know that our community, both nationally and particularly in Western Australia, will pull together to provide as much support as possible to all involved.”
According to a report in The Australian, Hockey WA are working closely with their community and the North Coast Raiders Hockey Club to ensure all possible support is provided to those involved in the accident.
Elizabeth was a student at Murdoch University and completed her upper schooling at St Mary’s Anglican Girls School in Karrinyup.
In 2010 she opened Meg and Wally, a West Leederville fashion boutique with her sister.
News of her shock death swept through the Australian hockey scene, the Kookaburras squad hearing the news as they were preparing for the final of a test event against Germany in London. They wore black armbands in the 2-5 loss.
Australia’s five-time world Player of the Year, Jamie Dwyer, rested from the game but with the squad in London, tweeted: “All the Kookaburras thoughts are with the Watkins family after the devastating news today. Such a sad day in the hockey world.”