Ed Jackson to be honoured with the RPA Blyth Spirit Award

OXFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 30:  Ed Jackson of London Welsh celebrates as the final whistle blows during the RFU Championship Playoff 2nd leg match between London Welsh and Cornish Pirates at Kassam Stadium on May 30, 2012 in Oxford, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) today announced it will honour former Dragons, Wasps, London Welsh and Bath number 8 Ed Jackson at the 2018 RPA Players’ Awards, in association with England Rugby.

Ed has been confirmed as the second of two recipients of the RPA Blyth Spirit Award, in association with Towergate Insurance. The award recognises tremendous courage in the face of adversity. After breaking his neck in a freak accident in April 2017, Ed was told he may never walk again. Despite the bleak prognosis, Ed showed remarkable courage and determination and, with support from the RPA’s official charity Restart Rugby, was back on his feet within months of his accident.

Not content with simply focusing on his own recovery, Ed has dedicated his time to raising funds for Restart Rugby as well as visiting professional squads across the country to share his experiences and talk about his sudden transition from the game.

Jackson had only recently signed a contract extension with Dragons prior to his accident, having signed from Wasps in 2015. He had previously represented Bath, Doncaster Knights and was part of London Welsh’s Championship-winning side in 2012.

The latest chapter in his incredible journey is set to take place this Sunday (April 1st) as he attempts to trek 3,560 feet up Mount Snowdon to mark the anniversary of his accident while raising money and inspiring the thousands of people who are dealing with similarly life-changing injuries. Find out more about how to support Ed here.

Ed Jackson said: “The support I have received from the rugby community as a whole throughout this journey has been truly humbling. I want to dedicate this award to all of you that have made such a big difference to me and my family over the last twelve months. It’s not what I have done but what everyone has done for me that shows the true spirit of rugby. Thank you.”

RPA Group CEO Damian Hopley said: “The rugby world was left stunned by the news of Ed’s terrible accident last year. To lose the game you love is extremely tough under any circumstances, but to also learn you may never walk again is unimaginably difficult. Ed’s recovery has defied all belief and speaks volumes about his character. We are very proud to have been able to support him through Restart Rugby. Seeing him give back to the game both by visiting current squads and raising money for Restart Rugby underlines why he is a thoroughly deserving winner of the Blyth Spirit award.”

The RPA Blyth Spirit Award in association with Towergate Insurance is given to an individual who has shown remarkable courage in the face of adversity and is voted for by the RPA Players’ Board. This year, two people will be formally recognised, with Doddie Weir also set to receive the Blyth Spirit award.

The RPA Players’ Awards 2018 in association with England Rugby take place on Wednesday 9th May at Battersea Evolution, London. To book your place, please call 020 3053 6670 or email Martin Olima on molima@therpa.co.uk.