Cape Town – The Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, in collaboration with the Chris Burger/Petro Jackson Players’ Fund, has launched a research project that aims to establish an accurate database of rugby-related spinal cord injuries in South Africa.
A Rugby Safety Indaba held in Cape Town recently concluded that existing data on the serious spinal cord injuries in the game was incomplete due to the lack of a proper injury reporting system. It was agreed that further research was required to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the data.
The research will be overseen by Professor Tim Noakes and will last for a period of three months.
“It appears that no country has really resolved the problem of spinal cord injuries in rugby,” Prof Noakes says. “South Africa is making a concerted effort to significantly reduce the number and even have a target of zero spinal cord injuries.”
Research assistant, Nicola Wilson, has issued an urgent appeal for persons who have suffered spinal cord injury whilst playing rugby to contact her.
“Our experience has been that a large group of “near miss” injuries exist,” Wilson says. “This refers to players who have sustained a spinal injury that required admission to an emergency unit or hospital for either medical or surgical treatment, but which does not result in paralysis”.
Catastrophically injured rugby players who are currently being assisted by the Chris Burger/Petro Jackson Players’ Fund will also participate in the study.