In March 2005, Leicester Tigers and England U21 prop, Matt Hampson, was training with the England squad when he suffered a dislocation in his neck which trapped his spinal cord. It left him paralysed from the neck down, but more determined than ever from the neck up.
Restart Rugby supported Matt and his family throughout the 18 months he spent at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and on his return home. We assisted with medical costs and rehabilitation facilities at his specially renovated home, including a hydro pool for therapy sessions.
Matt – aka Hambo – was awarded the RPA Blyth Spirit Award in 2006 and the RPA Special Merit Award in 2015, and in 2009 he became our first charity Ambassador. Without question, he is an incredible man and an inspiration to everyone who knows his story.
With Restart Rugby Weekend set to get underway tonight, Matt knows all too well the importance of raising awareness for those players who have suffered serious injury, illness or hardship.
“The RPA and Restart Rugby have been and continue to be a massive supporter to me and my family. When I initially had my accident, Restart Rugby, were on hand not just to pay for travel/hotels, they also spoke to my parents and were a massive tower of strength throughout my time in hospital!”
Since his accident, Matt has battled hard to live as normal a life as possible. He started his own charity – The Matt Hampson Foundation – so that others who have suffered catastrophic injury through sport can receive assistance, and he also delivers inspirational talks to young people around the country.
It’s from this experience that Matt has today encouraged everyone involved in the game to get behind Restart Rugby Weekend, and lift the profile of a charity which is exceptionally close to his heart.
“Please get behind Restart Rugby Weekend and support the charity because without them, my accident would have been far more traumatic for both my family and myself.”
You can show your support for Restart Rugby and our players in the following ways:
Take part in the online auction where you can bid for money can’t buy prizes and experiences – items will go live EACH DAY through to the 17th April. Click here to view the online auction.
Text – RUGB09 and then the amount you wish to donate to 70070
Donate via our dedicated online fundraising page – http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/RestartRugby/Weekend
Share your Restart Rugby Weekend pictures on social media using the official hashtag – #RestartRugbyWeekend