Ghana Rugby’s President, Mr Herbert Mensah, has initiated the first step towards the development of a comprehensive player safety and welfare programme by appointing a task team to elaborate on the establishment of an “EagleWise - Safety Through Wisdom” programme for Ghana.
The importance of PLAYER SAFETY in today’s world of Rugby Union can never be underestimated or taken too seriously.
Player injuries is without doubt one of the most important threats facing the Game of Rugby Union and this is reflected in the almost continuous changes of the Laws of Rugby Union and the constant stream of new law trials.
A few of the Tier 1 Unions have tackled this issue with comprehensive ‘branded’ programmes such as BokSmart (South Africa), World Rugby Activate (Australia), RugbySafe (England) and RugbySmart (New Zealand).
Under the guidance of Ghana Rugby’s President and Board Chairman, Mr Herbert Mensah, a “EagleWise - Safety Through Wisdom” Task Team has been appointed to investigate the establishment of a player safety and welfare programme that will ensure that the issue of player safety and welfare will receive the appropriate level of attention at all levels with the Ghana Rugby domain.
According to Mensah the mandate of the ‘EagleWise’ Task Team is no different from the mandate used to establish BokSmart in South Africa, and can be described as:
‘The main focus areas of the programme must be injury prevention, injury management, rugby safety, and player performance with specific attention on serious and catastrophic head, neck and spine injuries. Coach and referee education must form the main intervention of the programme, with the development and provision of evidence-based medical protocols, the development and implementation of appropriate rugby safety regulations, the monitoring and research analyses of demographics and serious injury trends, and effective marketing and communication of the above assisting in the educational and strategic implementation process.”
In launching the initiative from his home in the UK Mensah said, “Ghana Rugby is about building character through the values of rugby that include passion, integrity, solidarity, respect and discipline. Rugby is primarily about a passion to enjoy and to excel, but we will not be doing fulfilling our duty if we do not address the threat of serious and catastrophic head, neck and spine injuries. Ghana Rugby will do this under the banner of “EagleWise” with basically the same mission of BokSmart in South Africa, namely “#VisionZero - One Is Too Many”
The “EagleWise” Task Team will be headed by South African based Director of Ghana Rugby, Mr Rian Malan.
Malan was tasked to attended a BokSmart programme in the Western Cape in South Africa recently and he was extremely impressed with the way in which the issue is managed and driven by the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
“Player safety is more than feasible but it can only be achieved with the right education and communication backed by a system that will ensure that the message and means to achieve this is in place and that it is driven from the very top of the Union to the very lowest levels of the Ghana Rugby Family,” Malan said.
The task team will be comprised of Malan as project coordinator supported by team members Collin Osborne (Technical Director), Stuart Aimer (Strength & Conditioning Coach), Lovemore ‘Dallas’ Kuzorera (Head Coach), Jeffrey Chiwada (Match Officiating Advisor), Dr Ross Potgieter (Medical Advisor) and Rafatu Inusah (Get Into Rugby Programme).
The mandate of the “EagleWise” Task Team will include a detailed analysis of existing player safety and welfare programmes and consultations with other Rugby Unions with such an established programme.
“The initiative will obviously place a greater strain on Ghana Rugby’s resources and specifically on financial resources to fund the programme. My Board and I expect from the Task Team to also come up with solutions on how we can fund this essential player safety and welfare programme,” Mensah said.
Mensah continued to say that an enormous lot of work and research has gone into similar programmes around the world and that Ghana Rugby does not intend to reinvent the wheel, but to rather look at partnerships whereby existing programme materials can be tweaked and applied in partnership with the owners of such programmes.
The task team has taken the first step by branding the player safety and welfare programme as the “EagleWise” programme with the tagline, “Safety Through Wisdom”.