Cricket ball kills boy
Buks Viljoen, Beeld
Johannesburg - A 13-year-old cricket player from a private school in the Lowveld died on Thursday afternoon after he was hit in the chest by a cricket ball.
Matthew Prior, a Grade 7 pupil at Uplands Preparatory School, a sought-after private school outside White River, was playing for his school's first cricket team against Lydenburg Primary in Lydenburg.
He was batting when he was hit in the chest by a full toss.
He then collapsed in front of the wicket.
It is believed that the speed with which the ball hit him had broken one of his ribs. This rib then appears to have pierced his lung.
A doctor who was apparently watching the cricket match raced with him to the provincial hospital.
He died shortly after his arrival at the hospital.
Matthew's mother, Heather Prior, is a teacher at Uplands. His father, Hugh Prior, is involved with the Casterbridge business centre outside White River.
Principal Gavin Sinclair said on Thursday night that Matthew's death was a huge shock to the school.
"He was really a wonderful young boy and a dashing sportsman," said an emotional Sinclair.
"He got the best medical treatment shortly after the incident next to the field.
"But he unfortunately died shortly after his arrival at the hospital," said Sinclair.
He said the incident was even more tragic as Matthew had a special tie with the school because his mother is a teacher there.
"Today is a very difficult day and we are all exhausted and sad."
Sinclair said there was still no clarity about what exactly had caused Matthew's death.
"We will have to wait for the post-mortem."
The school cancelled its annual farewell concert on Thursday evening - which is one of the highlights of the school's social calendar - following news of Matthew's death.
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