Rugby Nick is taking part in a massive rugby charity – Walk 4 Matt – starting this weekend. This first in a series of blog posts looks at why he is taking part. If you would like to sponsor him please go to his just giving page and make a donation, no matter how much or little you can afford.
We like to think that rugby is a tough sport, and with good reason. On any given Saturday there are numerous injuries – sprains, muscle tears, broken bones, concussions and more. As supporters we ask ‘our’ players to put their body on the line for our clubs, and sometimes that body breaks.
Usually such breaks can be healed. But not always. Sometimes our players, in trying to do their best for their clubs and fans, break down with injuries that can not be healed. They are left permanently injured in ways that we wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Rugby has, for the most part, a good reputation in sports; we respect officials, whilst we may batter each other senseless on the pitch we shake hands after and have a few pints together, this happens at all levels of the game. But do we look after our own when they need us? Do we look after those that gave their bodies for our teams?
Such injuries as broken necks happen at all levels of the game. And whilst at the very top level there may be the insurance and money needed to look after a player who suffers a serious spinal injury, at the lower levels often there isn’t.
These players have given their bodies to rugby, at the grass roots where rugby matters. Now rugby needs to give something back to them.
Matt Hampson was an English U21 prop, a player of much promise. Then one day he was at a training session hitting a scrummaging machine, same as he had done countless times before, when he collapsed.
He had broken his neck.
Now he is in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he needs a ventilator to breathe. His support costs upwards of £60,000. Usually this would be exactly the sort of player that we need to be helping, showing that we look after our own.
But Matt, as bullish now as he ever was as a player, has turned that on it’s head. He wants to help those who need it. Which is why he has set up the Matt Hampson foundation.
This foundation aims to give back to those who suffer serious injuries through sport. To help them with rehab, with support costs. To help them get as much from life as they can. For many people this is a lifeline.
Walk 4 Matt
The Matt Hampson Foundation raises money in many different ways – but probably it’s flagship event is the Walk 4 Matt rugby event. In this walkers spend a week walking form Rugby to Twickenham, that’s 110 miles. They get to Twickenham in time for the Aviva Premiership Grand Final.
The walkers all look for sponsorship for this massive journey, aiming to raise as much money for the charity as they can. Professionals join in at times, and look to raise awareness, local clubs put events for walkers to help raise yet more money.
All this is done to help look after players just like we are or were. Whilst we may not have such serious injuries, it could have happened to any one of us, but for the grace of God.
Which is why we are asking for sponsorship, any amount that you can afford would be greatly appreciated and go to two amazing causes. The Matt Hampson Foundation and Special Effect
Like the Matt Hampson Foundation, Special Effect works with those that are severely disabled, helping to improve their quality of life. Where Matt focuses on their support, giving them what they need to survive, Special Effect looks to give them something else.
Special Effect aim to provide entertainment to children and young people – severely disabled kids who are often unable to entertain themselves in the way that your children, or your family’s children can.
They provide computer games that can help those who struggle to play any sort of game have an enjoyable childhood. They create amazing games that can be controlled simply by the movement of an eye, allowing paralysed children to be able to play games.
Surely bringing such simple joy to children is worth a pound or two of anyone’s money?
Please, anything you can give
I shall be taking part in the Walk (actually driving the canal boats that they are sleeping on, but I have a more physically intense effort lined up) starting on Friday, and blogging about it on here. The good news is this is likely to be my one and only effort at appealing to the heart – from now on it will be more light hearted, and hopefully humorous blog.
I do hope that you enjoy it. But I also hope that you will help support these wonderful causes.