What happens when a Rugby League player goes out with his bag and doesn’t come back the same day? Nobody is prepared for a player to be seriously injured. Everybody wants to help but doesn’t quite know what to do. Clubs are shocked, friends bewildered and family frightened of the potential consequences.

That’s where the Rugby Football League Benevolent Fund tries to help. With the experience of previous cases, we try to act as a focal point for everybody’s positive energies. Supporting the families emotionally and financially, steering the clubs in responding to their particular crisis and directing well-wishers to making a positive response. Many of the injuries, although very serious at the time, are only short term and many players return to good health within 3 to 6 months.

The Benevolent Fund looks after all Rugby League players who get injured on the pitch. That might be during a match or in a training session. School children, women, amateurs and professional players are all looked after by the Fund. This also includes historic cases from before the Benevolent Fund was established.

There are very few sports which provide this long term support. The Benevolent Fund is not simply about financial input but longer term sustainable care and concern. Providing help in the home is a major aspect of our work. Wet rooms for wheelchair beneficiaries have meant that some of our disable ex-players can have a proper shower for the first time in decades. Re-designing kitchens means that our beneficiaries can now turn the kettle on without using a walking stick. Things that we take for granted in our daily lives can be a major obstacle for beneficiaries with long-term injuries.

Additionally, there is a real role for the Benevolent Fund in re-educating players who have had career-ending injuries. We have assisted with university courses for those who need to change career as a consequence of a serious injury. Continual physiotherapy is essential in maintaining the physical progress of many injured players. This applies both in the short term and the longer term, particularly with the advent of stem cell research.

Rugby League players by definition, love Rugby League. We arrange social activities around major matches providing a fantastic social network for the beneficiaries to enjoy and interact with others.

When a player gets injured they are often more concerned with the well-being of their family members rather than themselves. It is essential that we support the families immediately after a major injury, or worse. Families are totally unprepared for such an event. We use the sentiment “we are here to help”. Hopefully this provides an anchor from which they can begin to rebuild. These are often dark days and we try to offer a guiding light to help them.

The aim of the Benevolent Fund is to harness the power of the collective. The “One In, All In” concept is a collective measured approach that focuses on genuine care. It portrays the true values of our sport based on community response, care and kindness. The strength of any organisation is its attitude to its most vulnerable. The RFL Benevolent Fund deals with the sport’s most vulnerable. In supporting the RFL Benevolent Fund, we are determining who we are and what values we stand for. We should be and are, very proud of our sport. This is the foundation from which our game is built and our strength is in our collective values and response.

To show your support of injured players, please become a member of Rugby League Cares today. #oneinallin