Soldier son's death 'terrible accident'

05:59, Aug 11 2014
Samuel Andrew Scott
WHAT HE LOVED: Lieutenant Samuel Andrew Scott.

The father of the Linton soldier who died from injuries suffered in a rugby league match says no-one is to blame for his son's death.

Andrew Scott of Feilding said his son Lieutenant Sam Scott's death from the effects of a head injury suffered while playing in a rugby league game last Friday was just "one of those things".

Sam Scott died in Wellington Hospital at 11.15am on Wednesday.

Sam Scott
MISSED: Sam Scott

"A terrible accident," said Andrew Scott, one of New Zealand's foremost equestrian coaches. "It was just a game.

"We want to celebrate his 21 years of endeavour and success."

His father understands the accident happened while the soldiers were playing in a fun game to keep their fitness up.


"It was a front-on tackle; he was the tackler," he said. "He was going low and the guy was trying to bump him off."

A trauma specialist from the army hospital nearby treated Sam before he was taken to Palmerston North Hospital, from where mother Louise accompanied him in the air ambulance to the Wellington intensive care unit.

His father stressed the tragedy was not an indictment on the sport or the army, which he said had done everything it could at the scene. The army had allowed Sam's mates to be with him in hospital and had a padre with him the whole time.

Sam had told him recently that he never had any regrets about being part of the military.

"He absolutely loved the army and was destined to go to high places.

"We're extremely proud of him and he was such a level-headed bloke."

He had not long returned from working in the Middle East in time for his 21st birthday dinner and was in his fourth year in the army.

Andrew Scott hopes the family's run of bad luck has finished with this third accident.

In October 2012, his wife had a heavy fall from a horse while working out at their home property at Feilding. Sam was there and tended to his mother that day.

"He was absolutely amazing, kept everybody calm and did first aid on his mother. Louise called him ‘her rock'."

Last year younger son Liam, who now plays for the Feilding High School 1st XV, contracted blood poisoning and spent two weeks in the Palmerston North Hospital intensive care unit.

"It was a resistant strain and it was touch and go for some time," Andrew said.

While in Melbourne training in signals with the army last year, Sam received a commendation from the Victorian Police.

He was on the train one night after being out partying and saw someone harassing a woman. The man pulled a knife and Sam rushed into action.

"The police said he went in and disarmed the guy and when they got there the guy was crying on his shoulder, telling him his life story," said Andrew.

"Sam took the girl home and then he went back to the barracks."

Sam will have a full military funeral at Linton at 2pm on Monday, where the eulogy will be delivered by family friend, Sir Jerry Mateparae, the Governor-General and former chief of defence staff.

Sam and Mateparae's son, also Sam, were friends at College House at Palmerston North Boys' High School.

Sam will posthumously receive an army service medal. Fairfax NZ

The Dominion Post