Canon South Africa backs Players’ Fund project.
Canon South Africa (SA) is enthusiastically supporting the Players’ Fund’s inspiring project to offer hope to former rugby players whose lives have been forever changed by serious injuries on the field.
The Players’ Fund Project Hero sponsored by Canon SA is a visual documentary of five inspiring SA rugby players whose lives were changed by serious injuries on the field while playing at different levels of the game. Canon SA has extended funding support for the project in 2019 and will sponsor camera and video equipment for filming. Players’ stories will be captured by well-known photographer Nardus Engelbrecht and acclaimed videographer Halden Krog.
Since 1980, the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund has been Rugby’s Caring Hands in South Africa for over 500 seriously injured players and currently actively supports 108 recipients. When a rugby injury changes a life, they step in offering help and hope to ensure that injured players retain their dignity and lead fulfilled lives.
Help provides support at three levels: Psychological – injured players may be unable to play the game they used to, but they are encouraged to remain part of the rugby community. It takes a team to ‘pick up’ a player, the Players’ Fund joins this team, and does so indefinitely. Physical – the Players’ Fund provides mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, and other essentials to improve the quality of the recipients’ lives. Emotional – Players’ Fund staff are a phone call away, offering strength and encouragement for the injured player and their family as they learn to cope with the new journey lying in front of them.
“With the Rugby World Cup dominating 2019, Canon SA believes The Players’ Fund Project Hero is an ideal opportunity to help create awareness for these unsung rugby heroes, to bring their inspiring stories into the spotlight,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive at Canon SA.
“As a proud supporter of local sportsmen and women, and a champion of South African photographers and storytelling through photos and videos, The Players’ Fund Project Hero ticks all the boxes for Canon SA. We look forward to seeing the stories of these rugby players come to life using Canon equipment. It’s an exceptional project to encourage and bring hope to other rugby players who are struggling to adapt to life after serious injury on the sports field.”
Gail Baerecke, General Manager from the Players’ Fund, adds: “South African rugby players and supporters need to see, understand and feel these heroes’ stories. Project Hero captures the work of the Players’ Fund in a visual narrative that tells the stories of five rugby players, from very different backgrounds, whose lives were altered by serious injury. Their stories show hope, dignity and the strength of the human spirit which will encourage other injured players and represent Rugby’s Caring Hands and what it stands for.”
The five former rugby players who volunteered to share their stories include: 16-year-old Koben Hofmeyr from Makhado (Louis Trichardt); Charles (Chicco) Oppelt (33) from Mamre; Henry Afrikaner (39) from Durbanville; Amos Mzimela (46) from East London; and Quenton Steele (50) from Fish Hoek. These former rugby players, spanning all levels of the game, were injured during their sporting careers and now have an opportunity to share their highest and lowest moments — to help raise the spirits of those in similar situations.
Shooting of their stories started in 2018 and will be released throughout 2019.