'Heartbreaking' - RAF technician dies after injury in rugby match
The family of a 25-year-old RAF rugby player who died following a match injury have paid tribute to him.
Scott Stevenson, an aircraft technician based at RAF Marham, was hurt playing in an inter-services league game against the army at Aldershot on Friday.
He was stretchered off the pitch in the second half of the game and was taken to an ICU at St George's Hospital, London, but died of his injuries.
In a statement, his family said: "Rugby was Scott's whole life from as early as six years old. We take great comfort in the knowledge that he passed doing something he loved, surrounded by his teammates, all of whom care about him dearly. Few of us are fortunate enough to leave life in such a way.
"Thank you to all the players and staff at the various teams Scott played for, from Harrogate to the United Kingdom Armed Forces and all those who are in between.
"Scott loved his job, loved life, and loved his rugby and we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of well wishes and the camaraderie shown by the rugby league world.
"We are genuinely touched by just how many peoples' lives Scott influenced and how much he meant to so many."
The Rugby Football League's (RFL) chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: "This is tragic and heartbreaking news and I know everyone involved in the game will join me in sending deepest condolences to Scott's family and friends, and to all involved in rugby league in the RAF and the other services."
The RFL has offered support to the family and the RAF Rugby League through the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.
A tribute from RAF Marham said: "It is with deep regret that the Station Commander of Royal Air Force Marham confirms the death of senior aircraftman (technician) Scott Stevenson.
"Scott was a very popular member of the Royal Air Force Marham community and a fullback for the Royal Air Force Rugby League 1st team.
"Scott will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Mr Stevenson also played for the Boston Buccaneers community club in Lincolnshire.
He had said his proudest moment was being part of an Interservices Championships team in 2016 and getting man-of-the-match in his final game against the army.
He had made the United Kingdom Armed Forces Rugby League (UKAFRL) team due to play in Australia in 2017, but he was injured shortly before the tour.
He said at the time: "The opportunity to represent the UKAFRL in Australia, is without a doubt my greatest achievement I've done since I started playing rugby when I was eight."
Hundreds of tributes to Mr Stevenson have been made on social media.
One person said: "RIP Scott. Rest easy, your duty is done. No-one should go out to play a game of rugby and not make it home. Thinking of your family, friends, rugby team and work mates."
Another tribute read: "Such a top, top bloke! Can't believe you're gone, mate. Rest in peace Scotty."
Someone else said: "So sad to hear. Scott was a committed airman in both sport and his job. My heartfelt condolences go to his family. Rest in peace lad."