IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Would an ambulance have saved Brian?

Leisure centre carrying out investigation, eight months after teenager died following freak fall

10 August, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Brian Mpunga, a regular at Sobell basketball classes

A LEISURE centre company is compiling an “internal report” after questions were raised as to why a teenager was not taken to hospital by ambulance following a freak basketball accident which resulted in his death.

The mother of Brian Mpunga, a popular 15-year-old at St Aloysius’ College in Archway, believes her son may still be alive had he been taken to hospital by ambulance after injuring himself while warming up to play basketball at the Sobell Centre, in Holloway, last December. Carlotta Jose, Brian’s mother, who lives in Highbury Quadrant, said she has had little communication with GLL, also known as Better, which is contracted by the Town Hall to run leisure centres, following the death of her son.

Ms Jose said Brian was a regular at the coached basketball classes at the centre in Hornsey Road and would attend three times a week.

Speaking to the Tribune, Ms Jose said: “I’m very shocked to hear this news that these people at Sobell said that they are investigating.

“It’s been about eight months since Brian fell but they are only talking about investigating now. This is completely unacceptable after all these months and also how they haven’t communicated with us as parents.”

She added: “Why wasn’t Brian taken to hospital by ambulance? Brian was committed to the Sobell. They should have looked after him.”

Ms Jose said workers at the centre had initially made plans to install a memorial bench for Brian at another basketball court in Finsbury Park but nothing had come of it. Brian was taken to University College Hospital (UCH) by his father, who was called to the basketball court. His parents say he was not given a CT scan for five hours despite struggling to stay awake and suffering memory loss – symptoms of a severe head injury, according to the NHS’s patient website.

His parents say a bleed was eventually detected on Brian’s brain. He was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he later died despite doctors fighting to save his life.

An external investigator drafted in by UCH is looking into Brian’s death.

A spokesman for GLL said: “We again offer our deepest sympathies to Brian Mpunga’s family. His death at such a young age was a tragedy.

“The Sobell Leisure Centre employs experienced staff trained to respond to the particular circumstances of any incident. We are compiling a thorough internal report into this tragic incident and cannot comment further at this stage, ahead of the hospital’s independent investigation or any possible inquest.”

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