RFU voice their support for CRY, with plans for increased screening of young rugby players

RFU support cardiac screening for young players

Press release – 31st March 2005

The Community and Performance Departments of the Rugby Football Union have announced their support for the charity, ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’ (CRY).

CRY was formed in 1995 and its primary aim and objective is to raise awareness of cardiac risk in young people and athletes. Around 50,000 young people with a mean age of around 17, are thought to be at risk from a sudden cardiac arrest and the RFU has begun the process of screening all of its young elite athletes at the Junior National Academy in Bath.

The RFU Performance Department’s Head of Elite Support, Roy Headey said “The process we have begun at the Junior National Academy will be repeated each year for new intakes and it has been extended to the England U19 squad this season.

“Our plan is to roll it out to the 14 Regional Academies so that all new intakes of 16 year old players will be screened. Parents will obviously want to be re-assured that we’re doing everything possible to ensure our elite young players are in good health. While the risk of a fatality is very small, sooner or later, this programme will save a life.”

RFU Performance Director, Chris Spice said “The work undertaken by CRY is fantastic. We all want our young players to be in the best possible shape and the CRY awareness campaign is a very effective one. They have the total support of the Performance Department and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

The RFU will be appointing its first Community Medical Officer in April 2005 and the RFU Community & Operations Director, Terry Burwell said “The Community Medical Officer will play a key role in advising our 1,700 clubs and 3,000 affiliated schools on how to work with CRY and introduce screening for their young players. I also expect to appoint a project officer to work with the CMO in this area.”

Alison Cox, Founder and CEO of CRY said “I would like to congratulate the RFU on this visionary move as it tackles not just their elite squads, as some other sports do, but the crucial wider picture of all young rugby enthusiasts.

“Sport unmasks cardiac problems it does not cause them. By reaching into schools and clubs the RFU are demonstrating a concern at the heart of the community where undiagnosed cardiac problems in young players are most likely to be found.”