For the Players
For the game

Restart benefits from RPA Computacenter Players’ Awards

June 25th, 2014

The Rugby Players’ Association staged the 16th Annual RPA Computacenter Players’ Awards at Battersea Evolution in London last month.

Almost a thousand guests were in attendance at the prestigious event in central London, which not only honoured the outstanding playing achievements of the season, but raised over £160,000 for Restart, the official charity of the Rugby Players’ Association.

The money raised at the annual event is crucial to Restart, the charity established by the RPA in 2001 to support professional players who have suffered serious injury or illness. It provides financial and practical support to players and their families during difficult times, including help with the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation equipment. Restart also provides emotional support helping players come to terms with having to give up the game they love.

Former England international and Restart trustee, Ben Kay, knows exactly how vital this money will be to those who receive it: “Every professional rugby player knows how lucky they are to have been able to make their favourite past time their career. But the inherent risks associated with a collision sport and commercial pressures associated in professional sport there can be casualties. So as we basked in the glory of one of the best rugby seasons in memory we were delighted by the generosity of support for RESTART the charity that is there to pick up the pieces when things go wrong – be that medically, financially or psychologically – for those that invest so much to make our game great!”

Retirements due to injury in England have risen by over 80% in the last three years and show no sign of slowing down. Statistically this means that two players per club will be forced to retire each season and will be unable to continue playing professional rugby. At the end of the 2013/14 season 30 players announced their retirement of which 24 were due to career ending injury.

Since its inception Restart has supported players such as Matt Hampson, James Collins, Alex Bennett and Andy Blyth. All of these individuals sustained life changing injuries that brought their rugby careers to an end. They are proof of just how important it is to have a charity such as Restart in place and how vital every penny raised is.

Retiring RPA Chairman, Will James, is a passionate supporter of Restart and the support it offers to players: “Each of these players highlight the sad and less high profile side of our wonderful game. Unfortunately serious injuries are on the increase impacting on young players who have so much potential and great careers ahead of them.  The money that Restart provides to help players to recover and rebuild their lives is essential and it is important that everyone involved in the game realises this and supports this great charity”.

The money raised on the night will not only go towards helping injured and retired players but also provide educational support to players transitioning into life after rugby as well as providing a 24 hour confidential counselling service for our members.