Rugby player Maddy Lawrence dies two weeks after being injured in match

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She had been taken to hospital after suffering an injury during a rugby match

A university rugby player has died more than two weeks after being taken to hospital with an injury sustained during a rugby game.

Winger Maddy Lawrence, 20, had been playing for the University of West England Women’s second team against the University of Bristol on March 7 when she was injured. The first-year student later died in hospital on Friday, March 25. Her family say she had contracted an infection and her rugby injury was not life-threatening. You can read their full statement here.

Her rugby club wrote on Instagram: “Maddy exemplified what it means to be a UWE Women’s Rugby Player, ‘tackling’ every new skill with enthusiasm. She proudly represented our club both on and off the rugby pitch, growing into the sport and our rugby family.

“Maddy was a bubbly girl who was so fun to be around. Whenever she smiled and laughed you couldn’t help but smile and laugh with her. That was the sort of player, friend, sister and daughter Maddy was. Her everlasting energy has left its mark on this club, she will forever be our number 11 and will forever be our friend.”

Maddy’s coach, Tom Monks, head of UWE Women’s Rugby Union, said: “Maddy was an absolute pleasure to coach. She wanted to learn and appreciated every playing opportunity that her dedication warranted. The unity and togetherness of this year’s squad is the strongest I’ve ever felt in my 20 years of coaching and Maddy’s beaming smile and warmth embodied the incredible bond we have.”

Teammate Maddie Crofts said: “She was honestly the nicest person I have ever met. She was always so bubbly and always had a smile on her face. It is cheesy to say but the room really did light up when Maddy was there.”

Ms Crofts told the BBC that Maddy had taken up rugby last year, and said her family had spoken about how much rugby changed her life

“None of us were really expecting her to pass away so it was just such a big shock to us,” she added. “We are such a close-knit team that it’s like losing a sister.”

Lawrence’s team-mates are asking for all women’s rugby teams to hold a one-minute applause before games held this weekend in her memory.

A spokesperson for UWE Bristol said: “Everyone in the UWE Bristol community is profoundly shocked and saddened by the death of our student and talented UWE Women’s Rugby player Maddy Lawrence. “We would like to pass on our deepest condolences and sympathies to Maddy’s family, friends and teammates, at this very difficult time. Fellow students, university staff and members of the UWE Bristol sporting community affected by this tragic news can access a full range of university support services offered by our Wellbeing Service or can contact the Samaritans helpline.”

Tributes have been pouring in from across the world of rugby since the announcement. The RFU Tweeted: “On behalf of everyone at the RFU, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Maddy Lawrence. The thoughts of everyone in the game are with UWE Women’s rugby, their players, members and the wider rugby community.”

As a tribute to her, the team has organised a fundraiser at Lockleaze Sports Centre on Wednesday, March 30. Sports teams across the university will be attending, and it will feature a game of tag rugby.

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