How can you begin to imagine the death of a player on the field of play? That is what the Moran family, Galway’s sporting family and the sport of Camogie and beyond are having to come to terms with after the tragic passing of Kate Moran at the age of 21.
She went out on Monday to play a game with Athenry, as she has done all her life.
She went up for a ball and got an accidental knock on the head.
She played on but minutes later she collapsed and despite the best efforts of emergency medical professionals at the scene, she was pronounced dead at University Hospital Galway on Monday night.
The tragedy of any life lost young is immense but for it to happen on a sporting field brings with it an added weight of sorrow and also a wave of fear.
During the Easter break, tens of thousands of young children are taking to pitches all over the country to play a sport chosen for them by family history, friendships, local facilities or any one of 100 reasons.
That sport could be camogie, hurling or football, it could be rugby, gymnastics or athletics, it could be anything.
A simple way to have fun, make friends and learn the lessons of life in a sporting environment like generations that have gone before.
Sport is one of the great passions of our society and a principal way in which we define who we are.
Kate Moran was one of the few who make it to the very top. She played on representative teams for Galway and won All Ireland title at the ages of 15 and 16. She played for her club and her college and was in the words of her club “a tremendous role model for our many underage players and a wonderful leader both on and off the field of play.”
Another element of sudden death is the shock to those impacted of the world continuing to turn. Galway Camogie has cancelled all games this week as a mark of respect but games and training carry on throughout the country, with a sombre twist and hopefully a mark of respect paid.
Thoughts of why will turn in time to questions of how. Was there anything in the way in which the tragic accident unfolded that could be avoided? Was there a design element in the helmet or the hurl that if modified could have prevented this tragedy?
Sport in every form has a duty of care to its participants to have it played in as safe a manner as possible.
This ranges from the medical investigations of boxing and other concussive sports through to the engineering of a Formula 1 car. Investigations happen and where an improvement in care or equipment can be identified it is made.
Concussion, brain injury and worse can happen in the most innocuous looking of circumstances and the same accident could have happened on a bike, crossing the road or tripping on a pavement.
The whole broad church of Irish sport walks with a slower step today with thoughts of Kate Moran and her family.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.