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Cleveland's Commissioner Learns of Importance of Rugby Skull Caps in Tackling Acquired Brain Injuries

Brainbox Visit

Left to Right - John McConville (BRAINBOX Chair), Barry Coppinger (Cleveland PCC), Julie Cordon (BRAINBOX), Jeff Lillystone, and Boda Gallon (Director of The Gateway)

With the 2015 Rugby World Cup well underway, the Police & Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, was today given an opportunity to visit a regional neuro-rehabilitation facility and learn about the personal safety aspects of young rugby players when competing.

The PCC met with Jeff Lillystone, a Cleveland Police officer and coach of Guisborough Rugby Juniors Under 14s team, who are at the forefront of learning about the dangers of head injuries associated with playing rugby and the usage of preventative equipment such as skull caps whilst training and playing. The team are also liaising with BRAINBOX, a North East based charity, who offer assistance to families who have a young person with an acquired brain injury, whilst also providing in-house counselling and running activity groups. The PCC was given a tour of the Gateway Centre, a neuro-rehabilitation facility in Middlesbrough, discussing its operations with its Director, Boda Gallon, and the support work of BRAINBOX with its Chair, John McConville and Julie Cordon.

PCC Coppinger said “How many times do you watch a sporting event and want to rush out and emulate your sporting heroes? It is very evident that the players participating in the 2015 Rugby World Cup have tremendous fitness levels, skills and agility to enable them to compete at the highest level but what is not evident on screen are the dangers the sport involves and the injuries which can happen without taking proper care whilst participating.

“I welcome this local awareness raising campaign by Guisborough Rugby and its involvement with BRAINBOX and the Gateway Centre. Young people are especially prone to head injuries as a result of playing rugby that can leave a long lasting effect on their health and wellbeing and massive implications for their families. I hope the heightened interest in rugby throughout the World Cup tournament encourages young people to put their personal safety first.”

Jeff Lillystone added “Whilst the wearing of scrum caps or head protection hasn’t been proven to prevent concussion or serious injury, what we do see are incidents of players having inadvertent contact, sometimes with their own team members, which can lead to injury. Anything which can prevent any level of cuts and bruising would be welcomed. I would personally like all protective clothing which can be worn, as stipulated by the governing bodies, to be made compulsory - to give young players as much protection as possible. We cannot eliminate risk totally, but we can manage it more effectively."

Guisborough Rugby Under 14s welcome new players - Tuesdays 6.00 – 7.15pm at the club on Belmangate, Guisborough.

To find out more about the work of BRAINBOX, visit their website at www.brainboxsupport.org.uk or call 0800 0124 027.


Posted on Thursday 24th September 2015
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