Funeral service for Grant 'Cookie' Cook at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Murwillumbah. The Murwillumbah Mustangs rugby players forming a line outside the church. Photo: Jerad Williams
Funeral service for Grant 'Cookie' Cook at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Murwillumbah. The Murwillumbah Mustangs rugby players forming a line outside the church. Photo: Jerad Williams

Coroner to deliver findings in rugby league death

THE family of a young father who died after a rugby league game might finally get clarity as the Coroner is set to deliver findings at the end of the week.

The inquest into the death of 28-year-old Grant Cook was heard on June 24 this year.

Mr Cook died on September 12 in 2016 at the Gold Coast University Hospital in Southport, Queensland from a hypoxic brain injury.

The day before he died, the Coolangatta father-of-two had been playing rugby league when he collapsed just before half time with a head injury during the A-grade preliminary final between the Murwillumbah Mustangs and Casino at Murwillumbah.

 

Facebook image of Grant Cook, who died in a rugby game in Murwillumbah.
Facebook image of Grant Cook, who died in a rugby game in Murwillumbah.

 

Football officials tried CPR on the Mustangs player when he stopped breathing, before he was flown to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

At the time, high school-sweetheart turned wife Colleen paid tribute to her husband, the owner of greengrocery Tweed Growers at Tweed Heads, as a dedicated father and family man who "left a huge hole in my heart".

"My beautiful husband Grant is now an angel watching over us," she said.

"Life can be so cruel. He has left a huge hole in my heart and I know all family, especially his parents, are hurting."

In 2013, Mr Cook won the Northern Rivers Business Award as a Young Entrepreneur for his greengrocer business.

 

Funeral service for Grant 'Cookie' Cook at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Murwillumbah. The Murwillumbah Mustangs rugby players forming a line outside the church. . Photo: Jerad Williams
Funeral service for Grant 'Cookie' Cook at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Murwillumbah. The Murwillumbah Mustangs rugby players forming a line outside the church. . Photo: Jerad Williams

 

Mr Cook started his early career at the Mullumbimby Junior Giants to the last two years at Murwillumbah.

A guard of honour was formed by Mustangs players at his funeral at Sacred Heart Church, Murwillumbah as the community stood in silence to farewell Mr Cook, whose coffin was adorned with the Mustangs' colours of yellow and blue.

The Coroners Court heard it took more than six minutes for the ambulance control centre to notify the helicopter dispatcher that the young father had gone into cardiac arrest.

It then took almost half an hour for an ambulance to arrive at the Nullum St fields, the inquest heard.

Clinical manager of Aeromedical and Retrieval Service for NSW Ambulance Dr Gary Tall said contact between the call centre and the Control Centre helicopter dispatcher, known as the Rapid Launch Trauma Coordinator (RLTC), should have been made immediately.

No helicopter was ever dispatched to the scene by NSW Ambulance and Mr Tall said it was "difficult" for the aeromedical team to "influence the paramedics" who were dealing with the situation on the ground.

 

Funeral service for Grant 'Cookie' Cook at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Murwillumbah. The Murwillumbah Mustangs rugby players forming a line outside the church. Photo: Jerad Williams
Funeral service for Grant 'Cookie' Cook at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Murwillumbah. The Murwillumbah Mustangs rugby players forming a line outside the church. Photo: Jerad Williams

 

"They (paramedics) make split decisions on what they're priorities are … a patient care may be more important than making a phone call at the time," he said.

Dr Tall said there wasn't "anything specific" updated since Mr Cook's death to deal with the need to make the "critical phone call" as quickly as possible.

The NSW Coroner's Court in Lidcombe will hear the findings on Friday beginning at 9.30am.