Who we help
We support all South African rugby players who have sustained a disabling and life-changing head, neck or spinal cord injury while participating in the game.
How we help
The Players’ Fund is alerted of serious and life-altering injuries* through the BokSmart reporting process. Following on-field care and during the acute medical care in hospital, the immediate needs of the individual and their family are assessed and assistance is provided.
*These injuries include, but are not exclusively confined to: Spinal cord injuries with irreversible nerve damage resulting in dependence on wheelchairs and walk-ing aids. Head injuries that impair normal day-to-day functioning (inability to work/walk/talk etc.) Other injuries that may lead to: visual impairment, irreparable limb damage or loss.
We aim to support rugby players who have been seriously injured by providing them with support on three levels:
– we provide equipment such as wheelchairs, as well as other essentials to improve the quality of their lives.
– injured players may be forced out of the game but they are encouraged to remain part of the rugby community. It takes a team to pick up a fallen player, we join this team.
– our office is just a phone call away offering strength and encouragement for the injured players and their families as they learn to cope with the state of crisis in which they find themselves.
2022 Impact Report
Prior to discharge from hospital and in consultation with the rehabilitation team, the Players’ Fund assesses the needs of the recipient and provides support that ranges from:
Provision of equipment
Well before the injured player is discharged from rehab, the multidisciplinary rehabilitation team will approach the Players’ Fund with the recipients equipment needs. Committee approvals are obtained, orders are placed and the equipment is delivered, ideally prior to discharge so that some “test runs” can be done and adjustments made.
Modification to homes
Being discharged from hospital is a major milestone emotionally and physically, but still a very early step on the long journey ahead for our recipients.
Before being discharged finally, recipients often spend a trial weekend at home where the family or carers will be able to assess and navigate any stumbling blocks to mobility and care in their new life.
The Players’ Fund then sources local construction companies and builders who are then contracted to make the necessary modifications to the recipient’s home in order to facilitate wheelchair usage.
Medical consumable allocations
Through a partnership with Ysterplaat Medical Services in Cape Town we are able to assist all recipients, with often “hard to come by” medical consumables throughout the year.
An annual allocation is provided to each recipient with a list of consumables that they may order. This list includes items such as urinary catheters, linen savers, vitamins, dressings and hygienic products.
Increasingly, the importance of regular exercise for the physical and mental wellbeing of our recipients has become evident. In order to facilitate this we provide a financial allocation to recipients for physiotherapy and outpatient treatment close to their place of residence.
Every recipient’s situation is different, hence the allocation can be utilised for what works best for that recipient in his environment – be it a government-provided service or a private physiotherapist or outpatient programme.
On an annual basis we gather information on the socio-economic and living conditions of all our recipients and their families.
Where possible and appropriate the Assistance Committee then approves monthly subsistence to those recipients that are in need of financial assistance.
The financial support given also extends to cover rent at assisted-living facilities for recipients and a further small subsistence grant to help with other necessities required by these recipients.
Partnering education and skills development journeys
Our focus is the holistic health and well-being of all our recipients and being with them throughout their individual journeys to ensure that they can have the best quality of life as possible.
Where recipients reach out to us and indicate that they would like to further their academic or skills journey, we partner them in order to see where we can assist.
Wherever possible we endeavour to assist our recipients in being able to travel where they need to go for medical attention, studies, health check-ups and hospital appointments etc.
Apart from the other pillars of support outlined, one of our main objectives is to ensure quality of life for all our recipients.
This is done through a wide range of service offerings and assistance such as caregiver training, hosting Enable Workshops, home visits, offering wheelchair-accessible rugby suites, providing annual gifts and more.
Rugby Safety & Injury Prevention / Advocacy
The Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund and SA Rugby successfully launched their national rugby safety programme called BokSmart in July 2009.
This was after an unacceptably high incidence of catastrophic head, neck and spine injuries taking place on rugby fields throughout South Africa. Now, more than 10 years later, the number of spinal cord injuries has significantly reduced, with a marked decline in the number of scrum related injuries.
We support the ambitious yet worthy target of #VisionZero which aims to eradicate all serious rugby-related catastrophic spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cardiac fatalities and severe concussions.
Every Donation Counts
Donations do not necessarily have to be money, you can donate your time or even just share our cause with a friend or colleague.