Cape Town - BokSmart
has set an ambitious target of zero
catastrophic injuries and breaches in rugby safety standards in South
African rugby with a long-term initiative called #VisionZero.
key motivation behind #VisionZero is to aim for that ultimate point
where there eventually are no more rugby-related
catastrophic spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cardiac fatalities
and severe concussions.
a secondary focus #VisionZero also extends to other areas of the
game where full adherence to rugby safety regulations is achieved through
safe playing fields, all referees and coaches being BokSmart certified, and
the minimum medical staffing and equipment being provided at all matches,
among other factors.
is not a target to be achieved by a certain date or time,” said SA Rugby
CEO Jurie Roux.
aptly described, it is rather a process whereby all rugby stakeholders work
together actively towards the ultimate goal of achieving sustainable
interventions and zero catastrophic injuries or events in South African
“#VisionZero by its very name implies that safety is a more
important area than any other issue, and that all decisions must be made
with safety as the primary consideration. Everything else must be
secondary to that. Changes to the system cannot be at the expense of
Wayne Viljoen, SA Rugby Senior Manager Rugby Safety, added: “#VisionZero
is focused primarily on avoiding rugby-related
fatalities and those catastrophic concussion, head, neck and spinal
injuries where the victim does not physically recover.
is not something that will happen overnight, but if all the stakeholders in
the game can get behind this initiative collectively, there is an
opportunity to make significant inroads in moving towards #VisionZero.
we might be seen as setting the bar very high with this target, the sheer fact that it is an overly ambitious goal
should not prevent us from continually trying to reach it, as no loss of
life can ever be seen as acceptable, and this also refers to a loss of
functional living such as with quadriplegia.”
With BokSmart 5 already doing
the rounds, the #VisionZero concept will be rolled out in the next BokSmart cycle
of educational videos, concussion guides, BokSmart toolkit
and accompanying educational materials.
will also be incorporated into the BokSmart rugby safety courses associated
with the sixth cycle of BokSmart training, which equips individuals with the knowledge and skills
to apply safe rugby techniques and basic medical and injury prevention
practices. BokSmart certification is compulsory for all coaches and
referees and this has to be renewed every
course features everything from rugby safety related laws, concussion
identification, treatment and management, on establishing functional
emergency action plans, technical preparation, safer contact techniques
especially for tacklers and ball carriers, and a renewed focus on
prevention, identification and management of serious head, neck and spinal