Society Member Wendy Learmonth has just returned from a trip to Uganda, inspired by the Tag Rugby Trust. The Trust is a charitable organisation which aims to build futures through rugby. It is currently working in three countries, Uganda, Mexico and Kenya, operating in Uganda for the last fourteen years. The Trust and their mission statement is:
‘To initiate positive and lasting change for individuals and communities, using the universal power and simplicity of team sport.’
Wendy, a Graduate of the University of Gloucestershire, clearly took that message on-board as many of you who were following her on Twitter will have seen. We were delighted to catch up with her on her return to hear a little more about the trip
How did you get involved with Tag Rugby Trust?
I've always played a lot of sports and had a lot of sports clothing that was worn out. I was in a dilemma with what to do with it. Since graduating and working in clinic I have been in contact with a large sporting population who also had the same issue. So I decided to do some research to see if there were any charities that would be able to use sports clothing and equipment. That is when I discovered Tag Rugby Trust.
So how did you make the decision to link up with Tag Rugby Trust?
After meeting with Rob Newman, a Trustee of the Trust and learning more about the charity, I decided to go to Uganda to research what value I could add. I was especially interested in First Aid and pitch side education.
I travelled to Uganda with my best friend Gaye Andrews. She was also interested in the charity. We went to 3 of the major cities, Entebbe, Jinja and Kampala where we visited schools, orphanages and community clubs. We wanted to see what equipment, if any, they had and what medical/first aid kit was available. As it turned out, they mostly had very little clothing or equipment and no First Aid.
How did you put your Sports Therapy Knowledge to Use?
In Kampala I gave a talk on Concussion and Return to Play to 8 Doctors and Physiotherapists. The talk lasted 2 hours. I wanted to find out the current protocol they were using and it transpired that they had no return to play protocol and did not use the scat 3 Head Injury Assessment.
I was able to talk to them about pitch side evaluation and head injury assessment using scat 3 and the return to play guidelines that are used in the UK. I also provided them with some resources and current journals to read on head injuries.
What are your thoughts now that you have returned?
I want to go back next year to Uganda and continue to support the charity. I would really like to implement a First Aid programme for the community clubs and the Doctors have also asked me to deliver a lecture on neck injury assessment.
Going to Uganda has been a fantastic experience that I believe is going to develop me as a therapist. Listening and communicating information is a vital skill not only when delivering a talk but within the clinical environment.
How can more help be given?
I am still collecting sports clothing and equipment at: Back2fitness, BSS House, Cheney Manor. Swindon, SN2 2JP.
What an example Wendy is to us all. Something as simple as wanting to dispose of her old sports clothing has turned into an inspirational event with a fantastic outcome.
If you can help support Wendy’s work with old sports clothing or equipment you no longer use please do send it on to her at the address above. Wendy’s twitter handle is @learmonthwendy
Tag Rugby Trust also has a Just Giving Page at https://www.justgiving.com/trt