We fund research into the causes and outcomes of catastrophic injury, identifying the best way to prevent and respond to these injuries. We also input into training courses for rugby coaches, players, referees and volunteers to protect players from catastrophic injury, as well as providing first aid kits to clubs.
The IPF supports research which aims to reduce the incidence or impact of catastrophic injury within rugby union. Working closely with academic partners, we look to better understand how and why catastrophic spinal injuries happen, identifying the best way to manage and respond to such injuries, so we can work to prevent them in future.
Currently there are two main projects under way with Bath University;
1. Catastrophic injury (CI) surveillance: This project is investigating the causes of each catastrophic injury which occurs in a rugby union match or training session in England (including historical catastrophic injuries) and reports on any commonalities or suggested methods of prevention to benefit the whole rugby community.
2. SCI mechanism: This project has been running for three years to improve our understanding of the forces involved and the way in which spinal cord injury occurs within the body under a variety of conditions as part of playing rugby, such as a scrum or tackle. By modelling the reaction of the spine to the forces involved within the game, we aim to better understand how to prevent such injuries from occurring in future.
All of this research is shared with our national governing body, the RFU, and published in peer reviewed scientific journals to achieve the maximum benefit possible. The RFU uses this information and IPF staff expertise in the development of its coach and referee education programmes, and in the development of the Rugby Safe programme.
Over the past three years, we have provided more than 2,300 first aid kits to lower league clubs and schools thanks to the support of our fundraisers. By making sure as many clubs and schools as possible have the first aid equipment they need, we aim to make sure any injured player has the best possible support at the point of injury, wherever they play rugby.