Player Welfare


What Is Player Welfare?

One of the core values at Railway is fostering the health and well-being of our players and placing their physical and mental health above all other considerations.

Ensuring our players’ fitness and health are maintained during their rugby careers at Railway is important to us and that this is approached as professionally as possible.

To this end, we have a very strong and active Player Welfare team. Indeed, the Head of Player Welfare at Railway has the final call on availability of players for selection for any team in Railway, overriding the player, coaches and Director of Rugby.

Player Welfare is a key part of modern Rugby Union and, as a distinct entity, its value has only become recognised in recent times not only in professional rugby but in all progressive clubs.

The Player Welfare team has responsibility for addressing all aspects to do with the physical, psychological and personal well-being of the club’s players and this can be sub-divided under three headings: Preparation, Match Day Requirements and Post-Match Day Requirements.

This consists of delivering injury and illness prevention lectures for players/coaches/management, conducting entry medicals for new players, screening of ‘at risk’ players, nutrition and hygiene advice, use of early warning questionnaires to identify over-training/potential for injury, maintaining injury/illness databases to monitor trends and alert staff to the need to make appropriate interventions in training, planning fixtures, pre-season and in-season, which are player welfare-friendly, monitoring Strength and Conditioning, and ensuring the club adheres to the IRB and IRFU guidelines on player welfare and injury-specific management.

The Match Day requirements include ensuring a match day medical team is in place and that they have the equipment to ensure the match day requirements for players are provided.

The Post-Match Day requirements include generating referral pathways for post-match care (acute/emergency, advanced diagnostics such as CT/MRI/Ultrasound, secondary chronic and continuing care), providing weekly medicals to monitor player injuries and provide feedback to club coaches and the Director of Rugby on the availability, or likelihood of same, of injured players for selection.

Functional strength and adequate conditioning is a key element in any successful rugby team and the Player Welfare team are responsible for functional strength analysis and conditioning for all Railway teams. This is an area that receives much focus in the professional game.

The functional screening programme helps to identify areas of potential weakness relevant to rugby and where remedial work is needed. By working on this with our players, the Player Welfare team prepare programs to make them ‘functionally strong’ to play rugby, as opposed to the common mistake of doing a body-building routine or ‘beach weights’. This makes them strong for rugby, makes them better players and helps them avoid injury.

This process starts with a full functional assessment to identify areas of potential weakness. A functional strength programme is devised, either team, position of player-specific depending on the result of the functional assessment. This will include the best exercises based on skill levels to avoid injury, maximize gains, and ensure each player is optimally trained to unlock potential.

Monitoring and re-testing takes place during the season.

We have fully functional 1,100 sq metre S&C facility on-site available to players and we run specific team-based sessions to develop strength and conditioning in our players to enable them to compete at as high a level as possible.

Coming October 2017.

Physiotherapy Access Policy

In order to run efficient and effective physiotherapy sessions for club players, the following shall apply:

1. Only fully paid-up adult members are entitled to access to Player Welfare and physiotherapy for injuries sustained in playing or training for the club. For the absence of doubt, if your membership is not up to date, you will be declined access until any arrears are cleared. This will be checked once you are booking your slot.

2. The default day for physiotherapy is Thursday evenings.

3. 15 minute time slots will be allocated.

4. To book a slot, email Pat Noonan (e: before 9am on Wednesday (for Thursday slot). You will then be notified of your time slot on Thursday morning.

5. Once all the time slots are filled on a Thursday, an alternative non-training day may be sought.

6. A list will notified on the Facebook groups of players and timeslots.

7. All players to be present 15 minutes before their allotted time slot. If you miss your slot, you forgo access to player welfare.

8. Players who miss two or more scheduled slots in a season can be declined access.

9. Priority for Thursday slots will be given to players currently training, available for selection, and will be based on competition requirements.

10. Players turning up ‘unannounced’ will not be seen.

11. Players who are ‘long term’ injured or not able to train due to rehab may be seen on a non-training day. If a slot is available on Thursdays, they will be seen then.

12. Please keep noise outside the physio room to a minimum when waiting.

Implementing the above will ensure all players get seen and more importantly get enough time to be assessed properly and treated effectively.

Railway Union RFC retains insurance cover for players under the IRFU Player Insurance Scheme.

This scheme covers club players for catastrophic injury only e.g. loss of limb, permanent disablement, etc. The policy does not cover loss of earnings, medical expenses, accident and emergency visits or dental repair. It is the duty of all players or parents/guardians of players to consider and investigate their insurance options.

Railway recommends that players are covered by medical insurance from a recognised private medical insurer.

Whilst the club provides a strong and active player welfare committee, this does not extend to financial support for medical bills. Rugby is a collision sport and regrettably injuries can occur.

Supplementary insurance cover is available through the IRFU’s broker, AON Insurance (01 2666400), or contact your own broker / insurance company for details of additional cover. Should a player or parent/guardian of a player wish to take out this cover, this will be a separate arrangement between the player and the provider and Railway will be an independent party.


Player Welfare

Professor John Ryan
Professor John Ryan
Head of Player Welfare
Eoghan O’Sullivan
Eoghan O’Sullivan
Head Physiotherapist
Catherine Simpson
Catherine Simpson
Physiotherapist - W1s