UCL student seriously injured after being hit in the eye with firework at Netball and Rugby social

Rugby and Netball Club socials have both been suspended following the ‘freak accident’

A UCL student was seriously injured and was taken to hospital after she was hit in the eye by a firework at a joint Rugby and Netball Club social.

The female student sustained a significant injury to the eye while other students in attendance were left with burns and marked clothing from the incident on Wednesday last week.

UCL Netball Club and UCL Men’s Rugby Club socials have now both been suspended following the “serious incident” pending further investigation.

An ambulance was called for the injured student who was said to be “gushing blood from her eye.” She was escorted out of the property with blood on her clothing and a blackened eye from the soot, and the social was abandoned.

UCL Men’s Rugby Club said: “We are absolutely devastated for the woman who sustained a serious injury at the joint social with Netball Club on Wednesday. Although a freak accident, what happened was dangerous and totally unacceptable. People were put in serious danger.”

At the social, fireworks were positioned on a ledge of a roof where people were gathered to watch the display and were set off. Once set off, the force of the fireworks caused them to fall sideways into the garden, hitting a tarpaulin before reaching the ground. More fireworks were then set off from within the garden, causing serious injury to the student’s eye.

UPDATE: the UCL Men’s Rugby social secretary has now been removed from his position after letting off the firework at the social, read the full story here.

The following day, the Netball Club was informed of the suspension of all club socials for the foreseeable future. The ban will be assessed again after an investigation by the Student Union and UCL. Students were told the Netball Mystery Tour may also be cancelled after the incident with students who have already purchased tickets to receive a full refund.

However, Netball Club and the Men’s Rugby Club have both been told this will not impact their matches or training, but they will not be able to continue to meet on a Wednesday as a club.

UCL has confirmed the individual responsible for setting off the fireworks is facing repercussions within their own club.

In an email sent out to all members, the Netball Club said the girl has not been left blind, and is recovering from her injuries after being treated in hospital.

A UCL spokesperson said: “We are appalled by this incident and are working with the Students’ Union UCL to understand what happened. While these investigations are underway, the Union has taken immediate action by suspending the Rugby and Netball Clubs from all social activity. We will not hesitate to take further action if necessary. Meanwhile, our Student Support and Wellbeing Team has been supporting any students affected by this incident.”

A Students Union UCL spokesperson said: “We took immediate action upon hearing of this incident, suspending the clubs from social activity pending an investigation. Those involved have now been referred to our disciplinary process.”

The UCL Men’s Rugby Club said: “We are absolutely devastated for the woman who sustained a serious injury at the joint social with netball on Wednesday. All our thoughts are with her at this time and we wish her a full recovery. Although a freak accident, what happened was dangerous and totally unacceptable. As a club, we are responsible for ensuring that our socials are run safely, such that everyone can have a good time. We have failed in this regard, and apologise unreservedly first and foremost to the woman in question, and to everyone else there who was put in danger that night. We are approaching this incident with absolute transparency.

“People were put in serious danger, and there will be no attempt to misrepresent or mitigate this fact. The university and SU will have our full cooperation. It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the extent of the injury in question. We understand it is serious and has been incredibly traumatic for the woman in question. We did not wish to speculate further as this could misrepresent what happened, and may cause further stress to the woman in question.”

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