The family of a rugby-loving teenager who died during a training session on Monday have paid tribute to their ‘gentle giant.’
Kyle McInerney, 15, collapsed by the side of the pitch during a pre-season warm-up for his beloved club the Old Rutlishians under-16-team and was rushed to St George’s Hospital in Tooting.
The sporty youngster, of Middleton Road, Morden, had been training with his team ahead of a friendly tournament on Friday when on-lookers said he became breathless.
Kyle’s mother Carol McInerney said: “Rugby was his life.
“Everything he did was about rugby – his aim was to play for Harlequins and buy us all a big house to live in.
“We nicknamed him the bulldozer, it was from when he was little, he would run around and fall over but carry on going.”
Kyle had recently accepted a place at Richmond-upon-Thames College for the three year rugby academy course and had joined the gym at The Hub in Morden where he trained after school and at weekends to improve his fitness.
At six foot one, his family described him as a ‘gentle giant’, who would do anything for his little sister, 10-year-old Angel McInerney.
Kyle’s father Albert Denby, 42, said his son was a nice guy and always full of laughter.
Mr Denby said: “He was loved.
“He was committed to his sport.
“He loved his rugby.”
The youngster, a Rutlish School pupil, was due to take his GCSEs this summer and was already looking forward to his 16th birthday in August.
His step-father Leroy Carrithers said: “He was very caring and loving and he is going to be greatly missed.
“When he was at home he was very laid back and relaxed.
“When he was on the field he was totally different – he was full of energy.”
On Monday, May 5, paramedics were called to the Joseph Hood Recreation Ground in Martin Way, Morden, where they found the 15-year-old in cardiac arrest and took him to St George’s Hospital as a priority.
He died later that day.
A tribute page on Facebook has been set up, with photographs and memories of Kyle from friends and family.
Dozens of people have already paid tribute to the youngster.
Among those was coach Chris Ellis who was at the Joseph Hood Recreation Ground when the tragedy unfolded.
He said: “He was one of the nicest lads, he was quietly spoken and a really promising player.
“When I arrived, Kyle had a smile on his face; he had been having some banter.
“Head coach Mark Chandler asked if he was alright and next thing I knew he was trying to revive him.
“He wasn’t responding.”
Mr Ellis called the emergency services and Kyle’s mother Carol, who was on her way to the ground to pick up her son.
Old Ruts youth rugby junior chairman Mike Stallard said: “He had been with us for two or three seasons.
“He was quite a late-comer to rugby but he got stuck in about the age of 14 years.
“He was a player who became a first team prop by sheer hard work and effort.
“He loved it and loved being part of the team.”
Mr Stallard, whose son played in the same team as the youngster, said he would be sorely missed by coaches and players on the team.
The club has extended its condolences to Kyle’s mother Carol, Ricky, Albert and the youngster’s family and friends.
The most recent post on the Facebook page said: “A few days ago me, you and a couple friends were in stitches laughing about something we saw, I've never seen Kyle laugh so much :') Rest in peace. We will never forget you.”
Alex Williamson, head of Rutlish School said: “This is devastating news for Kyle’s family, friends and for us at the school too.
“He was a popular boy who was working hard towards taking his GCSEs this summer and enjoyed playing rugby.
“We will miss him greatly and our thoughts are with Kyle’s family at this very sad time.”
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: "We were called at 11.31am on Monday, May 5 to the recreation ground, Haynt Walk, to reports of a teenager who was unconscious.
"We sent an ambulance crew and three single responders in cars to the scene.
"A 15-year-old boy was in cardiac arrest. Extensive efforts were made to resuscitate him both at the scene and on the way to St George's Hospital, where he was taken as a priority."
Did you know Kyle? To leave a tribute contact the newsdesk at 020 8722 6336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org