The RFU Injured Players Foundation (IPF), England Rugby’s Official charity, is today, 27th March 2024, delighted to announce Sir Bill Beaumont (GBEDL) as its new Patron.  

 

 
 

The former British & Irish Lions and England captain and current World Rugby Chair will start his tenure as IPF Patron this month, with the two roles running concurrently until his second term in charge of the world game comes to an end in November.  

Alongside Sir Bill will be a team of equally high-profile rugby personalities who will support the charity’s ambition to raise awareness of its essential work among the rugby community. From Rugby World Cup winners and current England internationals to world-class referees and coaches, the IPF Squad will be on hand to support the charity and players. 

Those already signed up to the squad include Jason Robinson, Danielle Waterman, Mike Brown, Topsy Ojo, Emily Scarratt, Jonny Wilkinson, Katy Daley-McLean, Austin Healey, David Flatman, David Barnes, Maggie Alphonsi, Alex Sanderson, Sarah Hunter, Wayne Barnes, Luke Pearce and Nick Mullins.

Topsy and Jonny 1140 x 600 tiny  

The IPF is a charity which supports players at all levels of the game, from grassroots to professional rugby, who have sustained a catastrophic spinal cord or traumatic brain injury while playing rugby union in England.  

Knighted for his services to rugby, Beaumont commented: “I am honoured to have been asked to become Patron of the RFU Injured Players Foundation, a charity that for me epitomises the rugby spirit.  

“Rugby is about people. It’s a sport built on so many great values, but at the heart of it all is the rugby family. There’s always great comfort in knowing that when you face big challenges in life, your rugby community will rally around you. Thankfully, these types of injury remain extremely rare in our sport, so most players will never need to contact the IPF. However, it’s important they know the charity is there to help in the unlikely event a catastrophic injury happens, and it will continue to be there to support a player and their family for life.  

“Rugby will never stand still when it comes to player welfare. A big focus for me as Patron will be advancing the great work achieved to date in bringing together Foundations, Governing Bodies, and medical experts from different countries to share knowledge and research findings as well as developing successful models of support for catastrophic injury and reduction of its causes. 

“On behalf of everyone at the Injured Players Foundation, I would also like to share our sincere thanks to Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, for his leadership and support of the IPF as Patron since 2010. We appreciate the time and commitment he has given to our rugby community over the years and I’m looking forward to keeping him updated on IPF work and player achievements.” 

Through the IPF’s range of programmes, the charity offers both immediate and long-term support for players, their families and clubs involved. This support is available for life and includes working with players’ health and social care providers to ensure they can access the support they need, continued rehabilitation, financial support and identifying and making adaptations needed for their homes. The charity also provides emotional and practical support for players’ families, enabling them to focus on caring for their loved ones.  

The IPF supports players back into work or education, reducing barriers to employment by offering vocational rehab, physical and mental support to address challenges in changing roles. It funds training programmes or required adaptations to offices as part of its support packages. This is a hugely successful programme with 76% of IPF clients employed or in voluntary roles or education compared to a national average of 37% for those with spinal cord injuries.  

Another key focus for the charity is working with relevant partners to support research, which aims to reduce the incidence or impact of catastrophic injury within rugby union and to find ways to improve the lives of individuals who have sustained spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries. 

England Rugby’s most capped player, Sarah Hunter, explained why she was so keen to join the IPF squad, saying: “The work the IPF does for players across all levels of the game and their friends and families is unrivalled and it’s important we make as many people aware of the charity as possible so catastrophically injured players are able to access the support they need.

 

Emily and Sarah 1140 x 600 tiny 

“Rugby is a community and I have benefited hugely from that aspect of the game throughout my career. I have been so fortunate in what the game has given me. To be able to give something back in this way is really important to me and I can’t wait to get started.” 

Stephen Pearson, Chair of Trustees for the IPF added: “I echo Bill’s heartfelt thanks to the Duke of Sussex for his tremendous support of the charity. I’ve been fortunate to see first-hand how his empathy and encouragement has helped players. We warmly welcome Sir Bill Beaumont as our new Patron alongside an incredibly exciting support squad. With Bill’s already extensive legacy across both the global and domestic game, he is the perfect person to lead us into a new era in which we hope to expand services available to our IPF clients, increase understanding of the range of these programmes, share our IPF client’s inspiring stories and raise awareness of the charity within the rugby community. We are looking forward to working together and to introducing Bill to our players.” 

 

 

 

  

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