His Royal Highness Prince Harry today visited the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation (IPF) at the University to discover how the IPF-funded research can help improve player welfare and reduce players’ injury risk.
Visiting in his capacity as IPF Patron, Prince Harry met researchers from the University who have led advances over the past decade in developing new injury prevention techniques and protocols for rugby union. He also watched demonstrations of the team’s IPF study assessing the impact of forces involved in the tackle.
Although few in number, a high proportion of the most serious injuries occur in the tackle. It is hoped that this work, once completed, can be used to improve player wellbeing.
Head of the research team, Professor Keith Stokes of the University’s Department for Health said: “For the past 10 years we have been working closely with the RFU and the Injured Players Foundation to understand more about injury risks in rugby and ways to reduce them.
“The work we are doing with the IPF is of real importance to anyone involved in rugby and it was an honour to show Prince Harry our facilities and to demonstrate to him how and why our research is making a difference.”
IPF Director, Dr Mike England, added: “Player welfare is of paramount importance for the RFU and research to prevent serious injuries is an important part of the IPF's work alongside supporting players who have been catastrophically injured playing rugby. We are extremely grateful for Prince Harry’s continuing interest in, and support of, this essential aspect of the charity’s work.”
During the visit Prince Harry saw first-hand how the team combine different types of data to understand more about the forces exerted in the tackle through a live, lab-based demonstration.
There was also a demonstration of the research carried out with World Rugby and the RFU to reduce the forces in the scrum, which resulted in a global change in scrum engagement technique to ‘crouch, bind, set’.
Prince Harry was at the University as part of the Invictus Games UK team trials, taking place at the University of Bath from 7 – 9 April.
Keith Stokes' Inaugural Lecture: Big Impacts in Rugby Union: Tackling Safety with Science
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