To coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week, the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) is pleased to announce the launch of an alcohol awareness programme for the 2017/18 season.
This education programme forms part of the RPA’s Personal Development Programme, supported by Premiership Rugby and the RFU.
The sessions are being delivered to RPA members at all Aviva Premiership clubs, Bristol Rugby, Yorkshire Carnegie Academy, England 7s and England Women by alcohol education coach and international speaker, Tom Fitzsimons.
By sharing his own story of addiction and recovery, Tom tackles the stigma and culture of silence that goes hand-in-hand with alcohol addiction, highlighting associated risk factors, the potential impact on a player’s health and career, and signposting where a player may seek help for themselves or their teammates.
Sessions have already been delivered to a number of clubs, including Wasps, Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers, with the remaining sessions due to take place before the end of the season.
Speaking about the programme Fitzsimons said: “When the RPA approached me last year about presenting to their members it was an easy decision to join forces and deliver this programme. From my experience of alcohol addiction and from the damage it caused to not only myself but to those around me, I understand why it’s crucially important to educate our young people. The programme has been tremendous so far and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the RPA to visit the clubs and speak to their members.”
RPA Rugby Director Richard Bryan said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside someone of the calibre of Tom Fitzsimons to deliver this vitally important programme to our members. As demonstrated by our Lift the Weight campaign, we take the wellbeing of our members extremely seriously, which is why educating them on the potential risks to their health and careers associated with the use of alcohol and reminding them of the support available to them is so important.”