Q1. What was it that got you involved in RugbySafe and supporting player welfare?
I started to coach at my local club in Didcot. Due to my background as a player and work as a firefighter I was asked to be the First Aid Lead for the club. This then progressed to the Oxfordshire CB asking me to take on the role of RugbySafe lead.
I saw this as an opportunity to really make a difference not only for players but for parents, coaches and clubs too.
Q2. Tell us about your CB/Club etc. and what you are doing to improve player welfare?
At Didcot we’ve worked on Coaches First Aid Skills, Emergency Planning and First Aid Equipment. Allowing coaches to have the confidence and knowledge on how to deal with player injuries has made a massive difference. We ensure that the whole club adheres to Regulation 9 to the best of our ability.
This has started to reflect well across the County as ensuring that a clear message is sent out to all clubs makes a massive difference. We’ve tried to ensure that every club maintains a minimum standard when it comes to player welfare!
Having clubs at different levels means you are going to hit the occasional pothole but as a county we are addressing the small issues and assisting the clubs where needed.
Q3. What’s the most rewarding thing about your role?
I recently attended an U9 rugby festival with my team. It was fun to meet up with coaches from so many clubs and recognise that they all had the same information and knowledge we’ve been working with.
Meeting-up with coaches who have also carried out the RFU First Aid course makes a big difference. I teach this course in my area so seeing familiar faces I’ve taught essential skills to is great.
Q4. Tell us a bit about the photo or video that reflects the work you are doing to promote RugbySafe best practice?
I have no children of my own within my age group at Didcot Rugby Club, I see this as an advantage because I know what it is like trying a new sport and not feeling like you fit in.
Every player that comes into our team is made to feel welcome straight away. I actively try to ensure that all players have fun and leave each session not only learning new skills but also having a smile on their face. The encouragement given to a child in sport can have a massive impact on later life so being a coach who creates an environment they want to be in is essential.
TREDS plays a huge part within our sessions, I love to hear when players meet at other sporting events with school and they always interact. This really enforces that Player Welfare and Rugby family ethos that we are always communicating with our teams.
Q5. Do you have any tips for other CB/Club etc. trying to improve player welfare standards?
It takes time, so ensure that you have good communication with the CB that you work with. They really need to be on board and recognise the need to promote Player Welfare.
Make a clear plan and stick to it, some clubs will respond better than others but just keep going and push the reasons why we have RugbySafe and Player Welfare.