The Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation (IPF) was formed in 2008, as a charity that would look after over 130 players who have been catastrophically injured through rugby, along with playing a valuable role in the prevention and management of injuries.
For many years now, and uniquely amongst sports National Governing Bodies, the Rugby Football Union has insured all amateur players for serious and catastrophic injuries. The insurance cover has increased over the years and those injured prior to 1995 would have received a far smaller sum while those injured, say, in the 1980s or before received very little indeed.
In 1993 SPIRE (Support Paraplegics in Rugby Enterprise) was created by the then President of the RFU Ian Beer to help out when catastrophically injured players were having difficult times. Since its creation, the major donor has been the RFU, although donations have come from all levels of the game. The SPIRE capital fund has gradually been built up and invested to provide a sustainable income, which has been used to provide grants to the ex-players. Through SPIRE hundreds of grants have been made over the past 15 years.
As part of the Catastrophic Injury Review conducted by the RFU in consultation with all levels of the game, the way we care for our players has been changed. Then Director of Finance, Nick Eastwood, helped inspire this change with the creation of a dedicated team based at Twickenham within the Community Rugby Department, to provide support and help to all players; current, future and past who may be so injured.
This became the RFU Injured Players Foundation. SPIRE changed its name and transferred its capital fund to the IPF, the charity being run by a new Board of Trustees. The new Board was formed from the Trustees of SPIRE and new Trustees appointed by the RFU, which include experts in spinal rehabilitation. The IPF now incorporates the former SPIRE Rugby Trust charity, with John Owen as the IPF Chairman of Trustees and Dr. Mike England as Medical Director.
More information about who the IPF team is can be found in the Contact Us page.
RFU Injured Players Foundation, a charitable company limited by guarantee, Company Number 6438698, whose registered office is at Rugby House, Twickenham Stadium, 200 Whitton Road, Twickenham TW2 7BA. Registered Charity no. 1122139