“Being able to stand up straight after 10 years was the highlight,” said Henry Afrikaner after a truly unique workshop put on by the Players Fund and Walking with Brandon Foundation.
“I enjoyed the workshop so much. I can’t stop talking about it! I just want to say thank you to the Players’ Fund and Brandon – what a positive guy he is with his team and also everyone who was involved that day. I am definitely going to push myself forward to do more, enthused Afrikaner.
Above a pic of Henry and Players Fund GM, Gail Baerecke
The Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund had linked up with the Walking with Brandon Foundation to put on a series of Enable workshops for 14 recipients at the Sports Science Institute of SA (SSISA) and was co-sponsored by the QuadPara Association of SA.
All of the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund recipients were young energetic guys playing rugby. Some had hopes of playing for the Boks, some did it to escape, and some just did it for the love of the game. One thing they have in common though, is the devastation caused by the very sport they loved when their lives changed forever as a result of a serious injury. There are currently 107 former players who rely on the Players’ Fund for support as they adjust to living with a disability.
It’s a partnership for life!
Their stories are not dissimilar to that of Brandon Beack, a young man who also sustained a disabling injury while practicing gymnastics in 2012. Brandon, with the help of a determined support base and an incredibly strong will, has pushed the boundaries, exceeded expectations and has his sights set on the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Three years after his injury Brandon, with his father Mark – set up the Walking with Brandon Foundation which provides a Therapy and Beyond Programme aimed at using state of the art apparatuses and a training mentality aimed at extending the functional capabilities of people living with disabilities. Together with the SSISA, this biokineticist-run Neurological Rehabilitation Center is the first of its kind in Africa and has seen phenomenal results from all of those who have joined the programme.
The two Enable workshops held on Saturday 28 October and Saturday 4 November aimed to provide the Players’ Fund recipients with an opportunity to explore their own bodies with professional guidance alongside fellow former rugby players. Physical assessments and exercise sessions were followed by peer support and behaviour change opportunities as well as a nutritional session and a station focused on wheelchair skills.
Baerecke recounts the day; “The opportunity to expose our recipients to this world class programme was something we couldn’t pass on. Their bodies may be weakened, but it is up to them to find their limits and see how far they can push them. With the help of the fantastic individuals involved in the Walking with Brandon Foundation and the SSISA biokinetics practice, they have had experienced and professional people holding their hands through this process.”
Along with Afrikaner, Charles Oppelt also highlighted the workshop showing him how important it is to be able to do more for oneself, as it makes caring for him easier.
A few pics from the workshops:
The Players’ Fund would like to be able to host more workshops like this to encourage independence and bring the recipients together so that they can meet other people in the same position as themselves. Should you wish to support this cause, please consider donating: