Last month saw a group of Injured Players attend a fun but challenging weekend at the Battle Back Centre in Lilleshall. 

The Centre was established in 2011 by the Royal British Legion to support wounded and injured service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and uses adaptive sport and adventurous training activities to grow confidence, improve motivation and develop positive thinking, enabling attendees to focus on what they can achieve. 

By visiting the centre, the players had the opportunity to share their experiences and bond with one another, whilst also creating an environment in which they could challenge themselves by doing things that were  outside their usual comfort zone. 

They were put through their paces during a variety of physical activities, such as abseiling up trees (unassisted) and wheelchair rugby. There were also psychology sessions where the players were able to set goals and aspirations and discussed minor adjustments they could make in their lives. The aim of these sessions was to build the players’ resilience to challenging circumstances and to focus on problem solving which could have a realistic benefit in their lives. 

For John (Burgess), this was not his first time at Battle Back as he attended previously as an injured player but now returned as the IPF Welfare Officer. Describing his initial experience as a player as a “really challenging weekend” he said, however, the takeaways were invaluable. He learnt to “not sweat the small stuff” so he could focus on what matters in his day-to-day life and deal better with the issues that he faced. 

This time around, John was able to appreciate the impact the weekend had on not only the players, but their family and carers who came along.  The time spent at Battle Back was an opportunity for all in attendance to share their experiences, whether that be as a recently injured player or a family member becoming a full-time carer. Through hearing each other’s stories, this fostered reassurance and comfort and allowed players to immerse themselves within the IPF family, and engage with further IPF support.  

John describes Battle Back as a “massive tool in the IPF’s armoury” with all those involved leaving as friends and quickly establishing the obligatory WhatsApp group. Following this weekend’s success, the IPF is looking to offer more Battle Back visits throughout the year in order to keep those who experience a life changing injury engaged in the rugby family.

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