27-year-old died after he suffered a fatal stroke triggered by heading the ball too often. The star striker collapsed after complaining to his girlfriend of having a headache for hours after setting up a match-winning goal.
‘Talented’ striker Bryan Herbert was a hero among his teammates for his prolific score sheet and ‘man of the match awards’.
Liverpool fan, which played four times a week, was rushed to hospital but died eight weeks later with his family by his side. An inquest was told a blood clot on his brain had been caused by footballs regularly clashing with his skull as he went in for headers, which in turn caused the fatal stroke.
Dr Daniel Du-Plessis said it was not common for such a clot to occur in someone so young.
Although he could not make a direct link to Bryan’s death last August and his football career, he said playing sport is a “well-documented cause” of such an injury. The coroner heard the chef had complained to his girlfriend of a headache.
Bryan’s girlfriend Vicky Bruty, 25-years-old, said: “He used to complain about headaches but, being a typical lad, didn’t go to the doctor’s. That day he screamed out in pain and then stopped being able to talk.
The fatal seizure happened as the couple were about to jet off on a summer holiday to together to Zante in Greece. After his death the club published a match programmed dedicated to Bryan with his picture on the front page and numerous tributes inside.
“Bryan lived for his football and now it looks like he died for his football.”
“Obviously Brian’s death has turned my life upside down. After the holiday we were planning on starting our life together and starting a family.”
His football manager said the star player had a “good eye for goal.”
“He did used to complain to me of headaches but someone else can never know as to what degree of pain they were – and he was a typical lad and didn’t go to the doctors.
‘He said “I hope I don’t feel like this on the plane”.
‘But at about 8am he said he was feeling a lot worse and said he couldn’t move.
‘He was screaming out in pain then he stopped being able to talk so we called an ambulance. Then it was just a whirlwind and he had the stroke.
‘Even though he hadn’t been able to talk again, he started laughing and was able to move part of his arms and was aware of what was going on around him. We thought he was going to get better.
‘I went with him in the ambulance and then his speech went in the ambulance and he never spoke again.
‘It was heartbreaking watching him go like that and I couldn’t take it in. I was with him every day.
Liverpool fan Bryan, from Bacup, Lancashire, was a chef who played for Bacup Borough.