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Pensioner Harry Fox died from severe head injuries in Watford General Hospital
An 82-year-old from Bushey died just hours after he was knocked to the ground during a tennis match, sustaining severe head injuries.
Chaim Usher Fuks, known as Harry Fox, died from two brain haemorrhages in Watford General Hospital on August 12 last year. An inquest into his death was held on Thursday.
The retired furrier lived in Fishers Close with his wife Anne Mary Fox, but was born in Tuszyn, Poland, in 1930.
Mr Fox played tennis at the David Lloyd Centre in Bushey, where he went every Sunday, while Mrs Fox was at church. He began playing the sport aged 45-years-old.
Ivan Dynko, tennis coach, said: "I run ten to 15 drills on the Sunday session and the players know them very well.
"The age of the group ranges between people in their 20s, to people in their 80s. Harry was a little slower due to his age but he was a decent player.
"They come for exercise and fun, but they know each other very well so there’s a social element too."
During the session there would be people playing tennis, while others, including Mr Fox, stood at the back of the court waiting for their turn.
Mr Dynko said: "Jonathon [one of the players] was running backwards for a shot, while looking forwards at the ball, and Harry was in the way.
"Harry was walking from one side to the other, looking at his racket. They collided and Harry fell to the floor. I shouted ‘is he ok?’ and he didn’t move so I ran over.
"Nothing like this has happened in the five years I’ve been coaching."
Jonathon Solomans said he had been attending the Sunday session for seven years.
He added: "I was running backwards and the next thing I knew I’d collided with Harry and his racket hit my face.
"He was lying motionless on the ground. He was a very active and strong man. You don’t see him lying on the ground."
After being rushed to Watford General Hospital, doctors arranged for a CT scan and discussed the results with doctors at Queen’s Square, a specialist neurology centre.
They decided there was no possibility of saving Mr Fox, who had an intracranial and subdural haemorrhage. He was made comfortable before he died at 2.55pm.
Danielle Barlow, operational manager at David Lloyd Bushey, described Mr Fox as a "lovely, chatty man" and said there was an investigation after the incident, but nothing was found that needed to be changed.
Anne Fox said: "My husband absolutely loved that club, even when we lived in London he would travel to Bushey to play there.
"So many of the members told me Harry was the person who, when they first started going there, would introduce them to other people.
"Jonathon was very brave to come to the funeral and to stay on afterwards to talk to me. My husband would not want him to carry this in his life, he would have wanted him to go on and live."
Coroner Edward Thomas ruled accidental death at Hatfield Coroner’s Court, and said: "Harry was very energetic, cheerful and enthusiastic, and I was humbled by what I was told about him.
"His injuries were such that he could not be saved, he was a fit man and if there was a possibility of surgery he would have had it.
"The first lesson in any ball game is to keep your eye on the ball, and Harry would have been aware of that. The first Jonathon would have been aware of this tragic accident, was after it happened.
"Harry was doing something he really enjoyed and had done for many years."