British Bulldog is a rough and tumble game popular among elementary aged school children. In it, one or two “bulldogs” stand alone in the middle of a large field. A line of runners face them and stand at one end of the field. The runners try to get to the other side without being caught by a “bulldog.” If they get caught, they turn into a “bulldog” and join the other “bulldogs” to try and stop the remaining runners. The game goes on until there is only one runner left—he or she is the winner.

Wrong children’s game: British Bulldog Game Leads To Girl’s Death
Wrong children’s game: British Bulldog Game Leads To Girl’s Death

In February of 2013, a group of children were playing British Bulldog outside Trafalgar Junior School, in Twickenham, England. An 8 year old girl named Freya James was playing a different game close by when she was accidentally struck by one of the boys playing British Bulldog. She fell, stomach down, onto a recycled wooden railway sleeper. The fall caused a laceration of her liver which lead to internal bleeding. She was taken to hospital where she later died.

Freya’s parents, Anekke and Nick James, talked of what a good hearted girl she was, “Freya was an angel and was loved by everyone who had contact with her.” They added, “She was so strong and determined in everything she did and always tried to help those that struggled.”

Sometime later, Freya’s parents called for a ban of the game that took their daughter’s life, “I hope our daughter’s death will lead to a more widespread ban.”

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