The RFL will provide a new tool to help medical support staff at grassroots level as Community Rugby League resumes in the coming weeks – a pocket-sized card which unfolds to provide essential and easy-to-access information about concussion and other emergency injuries.
The Pitchside Emergencies Card has been developed by Ian Whitfield, the managing director of Rawdon-based Alpha Card Compact Media, with medical expertise from Anthony McWilliams, a Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon who works with Leeds Rhinos – and financial support from Vivomed, the leading provider of sports medicine and physiotherapy products to clubs throughout the UK.
Vivomed have also made a generous donation to the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund.
Anthony McWilliams BSc (Hons) MBBS MD FRCS (Tr & Orth) - Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon, Lead Doctor for Leeds Tykes RFC, pitch side doctor for Leeds Rhinos RL and an instructor for the RFL pitchside immediate care course:
“We’ve been working on this for a couple of years, and we were pretty much ready to go just when Covid hit. But now Community Rugby League is returning, it’s the perfect time for the cards to be distributed.
“The benefits are fairly obvious – whether you are preparing before a game or running on to the pitch in an emergency situation, concussion, choking or anaphylactic reaction, the protocols are immediately there for you."
“The Pitchside Emergency Card flips to give two quick reference guides or full opens to two sides of A4 – one of them devoted to concussion, and the other including specific advice for treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic, and with all the relevant emergency details for the RFL and each club.
“It’s a simple idea, but I think it will make a huge difference, and I can see it being used at all levels of the game.
“Obviously it’s not to supplant training - you’ve got to be qualified in first aid. But after such a long break from the game, there’s an even stronger argument for having the pitchside card as a rapid jog to the memory, in what is by definition a high pressure situation.”
Ian Whitfield, Managing Director, Alpha Cards:
“We have produced pocket-sized unfolding cards like this for a wide range of applications all over the world, including the Scottish Rugby Union, and it’s great to be able to do something for Rugby League. We see applications in many other sports, including football, and we operate in the US as well and are hoping to introduce this product to the NFL in due course.
“The cards have to be compact, retainable and durable - water impermeable and tear resistant – but they can carry a good amount of crucial information and are on hand independent of any issues with phone signal or battery.”
Chris Webb , Sales and Marketing Director, Vivomed:
“Vivomed is delighted to be involved in this project as it will benefit everyone involved in the Rugby League community. Anything that helps contribute to better player welfare at all levels of the game is a really positive move - and will also further promote the great work of the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund.”
The RFL will begin distributing 5,000 cards around community clubs in the coming weeks.
Laura Fairbank, the RFL’s Head of Medical and Integrity:
“Player welfare has to be the key priority at all levels of the game, and that means doing all we can to support those who provide the crucial medical support during matches. We hope the Pitchside Emergency Cards will be welcomed by clubs and volunteers as a helpful new tool – and we are grateful to Anthony McWilliams for his medical expertise, to Ian Whitfield and his team at Alpha Cards, and to Chris Webb and Vivomed for their support – including their generous donation to the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund.”