Samoa rugby player dies of head injury

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A former Samoa under-20 rugby player has died of a head injury after a club match in Samoa.

Faiva Tagatauli, 27, died Thursday, four days after sustaining the injury while playing for the Vaimoso Rugby Club against Vailele at Tuana’imato near the Samoa capital Apia on Saturday.

Tagatauli was replaced after feeling unwell about 10 minutes from the end of the match. He collapsed on the sideline and was taken to the Samoa National Hospital where he died on Thursday morning.

Samoa Rugby Union chief executive Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i told the Samoa Observer that Tagatauli’s death was a “wakeup call” to all involved in rugby in Samoa.

“Do not take anything for granted around that area (of head injury),” Fepulea’i said. “The game has become faster and more physical over the last 10 years or so, the contacts are more intense.

“It’s up to the coaches to prioritize the welfare of the players over the team.”

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