Furlo Theron (30) damaged his spinal cord during a rugby match in St Helena Bay(WC) on 2 July 2016 when he was tackle during the first quarter of the match. He was playing flank for his home team – Abbotsdale Rugby Club’s 1st team. He had been playing for the team for more than 10 years and was known as a passionate, loyal and cheerful member of the group. At the time of his injury he was excelling on the rugby and cricket fields and spent countless weekends working on his swing on the golf course.

Being fit and well-conditioned for his sporting activities had always been a priority for Furlo, but unfortunately a “freak accident” whilst on the field ended his sporting career as he knew it.

Learning to live with a disability

The realisation of a future living with a disability is something that no one can prepare for, however the Players’ Fund joined Furlo’s team to help him through the process. Since the Players’ Fund’s inception in 1980, the team have been along this difficult journey with more than 500 former players and their families, so Rugby’s Caring Hands were able to rally the contacts, pull in the resources and draw on years of experience to help ease the process. The Players’ Fund provided Furlo with the necessary mobility equipment and renovated his home so that he was mobile and comfortable and in the best position to push forward when he got home.

Fast forward only a year and a half…

To 2018, Furlo has completed the necessary 3 month rehabilitation post-accident and has learned how to function as best as possible with the movement that he has. However there is still a lot that he can do to keep physically and mentally strong. When the Players’ Fund offered Furlo the chance to join the Walking with Brandon Neurological and Rehabilitation Programme based at the SSISA building, there was no hesitation.

Furlo undertook an intense 8 week training regime, aiming to build strength & endurance with the team from the Walking with Brandon Foundation. His personal & physical goals are to transfer from wheelchair to bed using a board, increase his seated balance time & eventually drive an adapted car.

Eben with Furlo and his biokineticists Claire and Stacy

On Monday 19 February 2018, in an act of rugby camaraderie and a show of support for a fellow player, Springbok and Stormers player Eben Etzebeth visited Furlo during one of his sessions. Eben, who is also undergoing rehabilitation for an injury, shared how moved he was by visiting Furlo and added that the meeting brought well-needed perspective to his life.

As the official chosen charity of the Springboks the Players’ Fund is grateful for the extension of the values held by players on the field to those whose lives are altered by the sport off the field.