Friday, January 8, 2010

Tom Ward: British rugby hazing death victim

Tom Ward, a 19-year-old Hull University student, took part in an initiation ceremony for new rugby team recruits. The pub crawl, known as the Beverley Road Run, was simple, yet unforgiving.
Every 10 minutes teams of students set off for a pub. They had five minutes to down pints and spirits before running to the next pub. The aim was to stay ahead of the next team.
In the ceremony last October, Ward, a second-year student in criminology and psychology, consumed at least 12 pints and up to six shots - at least 30 units of alcohol in three hours. After arriving back at his shared student house he fell and was discovered lifeless at the foot of the stairs. Attempts to revive him failed. A coroner at Hull earlier this month ruled that Ward had died of "positional asphyxia caused by alcohol intoxication".
Yet his death has seemingly done little to curb the students' appetite to carry on with the tradition again this year. "We have no control over students once they have left the union premises. They are all over 18 and adults," says Shona Lloyd, president of Hull University Student Union. "Following the accident we led a 'Mind Your Mates' campaign, to encourage them to look after friends on nights out. The dangers of excessive drinking in a short space of time will be emphasised again when our next intake of students starts in September."

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