A promising and popular teenage athlete was jumping on a primary school shade sail with mates in Tasmania when he fatally fell.
The 17-year-old, who was born and grew up on the state’s north-west coast, died in early May last year after suffering a massive head injury.
He had spent the night with a friend before going to Penguin Primary School where they met another friend and climbed on a roof and were jumping onto the sail.
While on the sail with the two other boys, he jumped as if bouncing on a trampoline, tearing a hole and falling 3.5 metres onto concrete.
“Initially, friends thought he had been winded,” coroner Simon Cooper wrote in findings published on Monday.
“When they went to see him, they were unsure whether he was being serious and was really injured, or whether he was joking.”
After noticing bruising on his head, his friends called another mate and they took him to the North West Regional Hospital in their ute.
One friend told hospital staff he had been injured while playing basketball.
A scan showed brain bleeding and the boy was flown in the early hours of the morning to the Royal Hobart Hospital, where he was later declared dead.
Mr Cooper said the boys should have called an ambulance and were no doubt motivated by panic when they didn’t tell the truth about the accident.
Mr Cooper said given the nature of the injuries, which he described as not survivable, the misleading information didn’t alter the final outcome.
Before leaving home, the boy told his parents he intended to stay at his friend’s place.
Tasmania’s north-west had been subjected to a strict lockdown in the weeks prior in response to a deadly coronavirus outbreak.
“[He] like many people in the community at that time, had experienced a lengthy period of confinement at home with little interaction with friends [aside from social media contact],” Mr Cooper wrote.
“He was missing that contact very much.”
The boy was a gifted Australian rules football player and had represented Tasmania at U15s level in Western Australia and in an U16s All Nation Tournament, where he was named most valuable player.
“[He] was evidently a popular and personable young man. His death is simply tragic,” Mr Cooper wrote.