Spinal Life Australia hopes the recent Rugby Australia panel recommendations can help reduce or minimise the impact of spinal injury in Queensland’s GPS schools.
Rugby Australia commissioned an independent panel review in response to four teenage players who sustained spinal cord injuries during rugby games or exercises during July and August 2018.
On Saturday, the panel released its recommendations including a ‘front row passport’ accreditation scheme to assess the physical suitability of front-line players, as well as advising schools to review their insurance and protocol to ensure they were prepared in the event of a serious injury.
Spinal Life Chief Executive Officer Michael Powell said the organisation welcomed the recommendations.
“Anything that can be done to minimise the risk of spinal cord injury, or to be adequately prepared in the case of a serious injury, can only be a good thing,” Mr Powell said.
“A spinal cord injury is a life changing event and can happen to anyone, regardless of size or skill.
“By adhering to best practice and introducing an assessment system for front-row players, it helps ensure that safety remains a key focus and can help prevent more young players sustaining serious and potentially catastrophic injuries.”
The independent panel included Wallabies great and Spinal Life ambassador Tim Horan as well as former Queensland Reds player Anthony Mathison, GPS schools representative Brian Short and Rugby Australia Chief Medical Officer Warren McDonald.
Spinal Life Australia also delivers the SEAT program, which sees people with lived experience with spinal cord injuries visit Queensland schools to share their personal stories and important spinal safety messages with around 25,000 Prep to Year 12 students each year.