The RFU Injured Players Foundation, (IPF), England Rugby’s Official Charity, which supports players who have sustained a catastrophic spinal cord or acute severe traumatic brain injury whilst playing rugby union in England, has today announced a three-year partnership with Brain Research UK.

Brain Research UK is the leading charity which funds research to reduce the impact of neurological conditions, to help people live better, longer. Alongside the theme the IPF is funding, the charity’s other current areas of focus include brain tumours and headache/facial pain.

Karen Hood, IPF Director commented: “We are excited to be working with Brain Research UK to fund projects which will help improve our knowledge and understanding of the complexities of these severe, acute brain and spinal cord injuries and support people like our beneficiaries to lead more independent lives.

“We know ground-breaking change won’t come in the immediate future, but we’re confident that our funding will in the long-term support new findings that will improve the lives of everybody living with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.”

The IPF provides responsive and effective immediate support in hospital to players, their families and clubs involved, including relevant emotional support immediately after they have sustained an injury, which still remains a rare occurrence in England. This support then extends to the days, months and years after the incident, including for life, where required to enable every player to live the life they wish to lead. The support offered ranges from working with the player’s medical teams to ensure access to the care that is needed, for example, funding a recommended physio when there isn’t an NHS specialist in their area or in the event of long waiting lists. The charity also supports with home adaptations or even providing a new home in certain situations.  

The charity also encourages and supports players back into work or education with 76% of their beneficiaries employed or in voluntary roles or education – compared to a national average employment rate of 37% for those with spinal cord injuries. 

The partnership between the two charities will facilitate the funding of projects and studies specific to these neurological injuries, to understand how to protect or restore function and as a result improve the outlook of those living with such injuries by identifying new treatments.

Caroline Blakely, Chief Executive at Brain Research UK, added:

“We are delighted to be partnering with the IPF in this way. There are an estimated 1.3 million people in the UK living with traumatic brain injury related disabilities, and a further 50,000 living with spinal cord injury. This new partnership will help us to increase the pace of research, to help understand how to repair these injuries and restore function and quality of life for those affected, whether from sporting injuries or other types of injury.”

Brain Research UK will work alongside the IPF providing regular updates on funded projects as well as identifying new and planned work in their specialist areas and recommending studies for the IPF to become involved in to expand their research further.



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