The RPA have today launched the Retired Player Network, a new programme to support the health and wellbeing of retired members.
The network, which was created solely by the RPA, will help to support, and reduce the many issues that players can experience when faced with retirement, including loss of fitness, mental health problems and social disconnection. The Retired Player Network will be a valuable resource to RPA Club members, with the hope that it becomes the place to go to for signposting for ongoing health and medical support, as well as keeping players who gave so much to the game connected and engaged to each other and the sport.
Today marks the first step in the network with the launch of the official Gym Network. Over 20 gyms across the country have signed up to provide bespoke offers to retired RPA Club Members, all through independent gym owners and trainers who have either played, play, or have a close affiliation with elite English rugby.
By creating a network of small, rugby-minded, fitness organisations, it is hoped this will help remove the barriers to getting back into the gym, as well as offering an opportunity to join a local social community.
The gyms currently on board include The Athlete Factory, owned by former British and Irish Lion, Wasps and England hooker Phil Greening who currently has sites in both Chester and Flint, London’s Fuel Training by former England Internationals Jo and Alice Richardson-Watmore, The Huddle Fitness owned by ex-Gloucester backrow James Forrester in Cheltenham, as well as Milo and The Bull, the London boutique gym owned by former Harlequins and England Saxon George Lowe, which was the location for the official launch.
As part of the launch, the RPA were joined by former players George Lowe, Mark Lambert, Jack Clifford, Brendan Macken, Tom Stephenson, Rob Buchanan and trainer and Network member Will Lafolafo, who all took part in a coach led training session at Milo and The Bull and to get some first-hand insight into what the network will offer.
The Gym Network is the first step in creating the broader RPA well-being network with the aim being to expand connections into areas such as nutrition, therapy and rehabilitation, mental wellbeing, and secondary and tertiary care.
On creating the Network, Mark Lambert, Head of Rugby Policy at the RPA and former Harlequins prop said: “There’s been conversation for a long time about the fact that the game as a whole should look at ways to do more for retired players. We want the RPA to become the first port of call for retired players for ongoing wellbeing support post-career. We’re starting that by creating the Gym Network, targeting independently run gyms by current or retired players or by people who are associated with the elite game who are willing to give a certain amount of free access to retired RPA members. We’ve spoken to and done surveys with retired players and removing that first barrier to get back into fitness and health, having something to work towards, connecting back into a social community and having that ability to connect once again is key.”
Owner of Milo and The Bull, and former Harlequins centre George Lowe said: “I think the Retired Players Network is a great opportunity, firstly for us as a business to help other recently retired players, and for the players themselves. When you play rugby, everything is planned out and is easily available for you. When you come out of the rugby environment it’s not, so I thought by doing this I’ll help players that have recently retired just to give them that first port of call so they can come to this. It is easy access and it’s free, but it gives them that opportunity to come into a new environment and build new social connections so not only keeping them physically fit but mentally fit.”
To see all the current gym included in the Retired Players Network, please click here
To have access to the Retired Players Network, retired players need to be an RPA Club member. For more information on this, please email Natalie Beckett, Head of Membership Services on firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Milo and The Bull go to https://www.miloandthebull.com/.