TRIBUTES have been paid to a former York City Knights under-18s player who died after being injured in a rugby league match.

RAF senior aircraftman (technician) Scott Stevenson was hurt playing in an inter-services rugby league match against the Army at Aldershot on Friday.

Scott, 25, who was based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, used to be on the books at Knights.

Former Knights coach Jack Stearman coached Scott at under-18s level.

He said: “He always wanted to improve and learn. He was very reliable. He was a pleasure to coach. He was a real nice kid.

“He certainly was a talented player.”

Jack, who is now a New Earswick All Blacks 1st team coach, added: “It is a game we all love and want to be involved in.

"Everyone goes to have fun and enjoy it and go onto the field to have a good time. To not come off the field is heartbreaking for anybody.

"It’s a tough one to take.”

A statement from Scott’s family said: “Rugby was Scott’s whole life from as early as six-years-old. We take great comfort in the knowledge that he passed doing something he loved, surrounded by his teammates, all of whom care about him dearly. Few of us are fortunate enough to leave life in such a way.

“It is important to us that everyone knows Scott suffered no pain, stress or discomfort.

“We would like to put on record our thanks for the superb medical care Scott received at pitch-side, in the stadium and at the specialist Neuro-ICU at St George’s Hospital, London.”

The family have thanked all the players and staff at the various teams Scott played for, “from Harrogate to the United Kingdom Armed Forces and all those who are in between".

They also said: “Scott loved his job, loved life, and loved his rugby and we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of well wishes and the camaraderie shown by the Rugby League world.

“We are genuinely touched by just how many peoples’ lives Scott influenced and how much he meant to so many.”

RAF Marham has also released a statement, which said: “Scott was a very popular member of the Royal Air Force Marham community and a full-back for the Royal Air Force Rugby League 1st team.

“Scott will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

“Our thoughts remain with Scott’s family and we ask that their privacy is respected during this difficult time.”

Rugby Football League (RFL) chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “This is tragic and heartbreaking news and I know everyone involved in the game will join me in sending deepest condolences to Scott’s family and friends, and to all involved in rugby league in the RAF and the other services.”

The RFL has offered support to the family and the RAF Rugby League through the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.