Thanks to the commitment of Unispace.com, LOTG will be showcasing its pioneering work to protect sports and players alongside those who know and love rugby, football and other sports with concussion issues.
Samson Rising documents your life, the roller-coaster of growing up on a tough Council Estate in Cornwall and your discovery of sport, through to your life-altering MS diagnosis and establishing a bespoke MS therapy centre in Surrey. What inspired you to share your story and what do you hope your readers take away from it?
Spending hours and hours in a chamber receiving oxygen therapy gives you time to think and reflect. I never set out to write a book. Instead, I would just jot down a few chapters as a form of therapy. It was a conversation with my cousin, who works in life coaching, that planted the seed that this could be the beginnings of a book.
Solutions to sport’s head injury crisis emerge from UK’s first virtual sporting ‘Hackathon’
Last weekend, Love of the Game (LOTG), the campaign which seeks to reduce concussion-related issues in sport, hosted the UK’s first sporting hackathon, to find actionable solutions to one of the greatest problems facing our modern games – early-onset dementia caused by head injuries.
The virtual ‘hakathon’ (the name inspired by LOTG’s links to rugby), organised by Hacking Health UK, brought together the brightest minds from the design, developer and engineering worlds combined with amateur and professional sports people, academics and researchers in the sport health fields. This unique selection of experts collaborated to create solutions to diagnose, grade and treat the effects of head injuries and concussion within sports.
Ahead of Love of the Game’s landmark Hakathon this weekend, we are pleased to have the support of the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and its Minister for Sport and Tourism Nigel Huddleston.
Ahead of the event Nigel said: “This ground-breaking Hackathon is a wonderfully creative innovation aimed at finding solutions to prevent, diagnose and treat head injuries and concussion across all levels of sport.
“The Government recognises the importance of this issue and we continue to work with sports bodies to build on the positive work that is already taking place on concussions in sport.
“The Hackathon is a fantastic example of creative tech-innovators collaborating to make sport safer for players and I look forward to receiving the results of their good work.”
Q. Love of the Game. What’s it about and why did you set it up?
A. It all came about, I guess two years ago. I was having a conversation with Laurence Geller CBE, Chairman of the campaign, over a glass or two of red wine. We already had a mutual interest in philanthropy and rugby through other rugby-associated ventures. Laurence was interested in the impact of concussion in sport and how that had apparently got worse over time in modern day rugby (and test matches) and he had a concern through his business interests in dementia care homes.
Sport has the power to bring people together. Being a fan inherently gives you something in common with others, a shared love of the game, of the players and for the excitement of week after week watching every kick, tackle, jump or shot from the edge of our seats.
The players that make our favourite sports so thrilling and competitive, from village pitches to national stadiums, put their bodies on the line for every point, for the good of their team, and for us, the fans.
It is with this love of sport in mind that makes the honesty of players about their fear of the long-term impact of concussion and its links to dementia so poignant. Just this week, former England captain Gary Lineker has called for an end to heading in training following landmark research which showed that ex-professionals are at a 350% increased risk of dying from a neurological disease and how hundreds of former players, including five members of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team, have been diagnosed with dementia. This particular story relates to football, but the message resonates across sports and the desperate need for action is universal.
Love of the Game represents a meeting of minds from across sport, science, business, technology and government. With an open-source approach to information sharing and an unwavering focus on driving actionable solutions, the initiative will address the following three pillars of engagement:
• Reduce risk to players and speed recovery • Reduce risk of early onset dementia in athletes • Maintain sports as we know and love them • Reduce fear of taking part • Lengthen sporting careers • Encourage inter-sport collaboration on concussion-related issues
We are an impassioned group of athletes, players, fans, medics and innovators, united by our love of sport and the desire to protect players of all ages from the potentially devastating impact of concussion and other head injuries, in so doing, we also protect the sports we love.
Love of the Game (LOTG) is a campaign to reduce concussion-related issues across sport. LOTG takes a solutions-based approach, it develops rapid actionable technologies that prevent, diagnose and treat head injuries in sport.