Paralysed rugby player ‘really chuffed’ with OBE from Anne
A former rugby player who was paralysed from the neck down during training in 2005 has said more needs to be done to make grassroots games safer.
The former Leicester and England under-21s prop founded the Matt Hampson Foundation in 2010, which was granted charity status the following year.
Wearing a grey suit for the investiture, Mr Hampson, 37, from Oakham near Leicester, said he felt “really, really chuffed” to have been recognised, and described Anne as “a very approachable down-to-earth person”.
He told the PA news agency after the ceremony that although playing rugby at a professional level is now much safer than when he was on the pitch, issues remain for amateur players.
Asked whether safety in sport has improved since his injury, he said: “In rugby, definitely. I’d say the protocols are better and I think the scrummage rules have improved in rugby and the game as a whole is a lot safer.
“But on the grassroots level, I’d say the knowledge of what scrums are doing and what the tackle laws are need to improve.
“Also, the refereeing of the game and the coaching of the game need work.
“We should introduce protocols that are in place in the professional game, like having ambulances on site and people with knowledge about what to do in the case of a spinal injury.”
Mr Hampson said he spoke with Anne about his foundation and how supportive the rugby community has been during his recovery.
He told PA: “I would just say that I think my family have been a great support to me, my friends, and beyond – the rugby community has been a great support to me.
“I’m in a situation where you could say I’ve been very lucky or very unlucky in life and I feel very honoured and privileged to be here.
“It’s an amazing day for everyone at the foundation and everyone who supports it.”
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