The Fund was started in 1980 when Western Province fullback Chris Burger sustained a fatal neck injury following a tackle during a Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein. This led to the founding of the Chris Burger Fund by the then WP captain, Morné du Plessis and his teammates. Petro Jackson was a young player from Kylemore near Stellenbosch was also fatally injured following a neck injury during a match in 1987 and a similar fund was established in his honour. The two funds joined forces for greater impact following the unification of the South African Rugby Union and the former SA Rugby Board (SARB) in 1992 and became known as the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund.
When a game changes a life we step in, offer help, hope and ensure that injured players retain their dignity and lead fulfilled lives.
Christiaan Petrus Bernard Burger, known as Chris, aged 28 (DOB 6 March 1952), was a Western Province rugby player who was playing fullback when he sustained a catastrophic neck injury during a Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein on 30 August 1980. He passed away the following day from his injuries. This tragic accident led to the founding of the Chris Burger Fund by the then WP rugby captain Morné du Plessis and his teammates. His widow and daughter, Esmarie, who was 18 months at the time of his death, still live in Cape Town.
Petro Jackson aged 23 (DOB 2 January 1964) was a young rugby player who played wing for his hometown Kylemore which is near Stellenbosch. He sustained a catastrophic neck injury during a zone competition club match played against Excelsior on the 11 April 1987. Petro was tackled close to the touchline which carried him over a gravel path which ran close to the field and into an asbestos barrier next to the path. Petro did not get up from where he lay and it soon became apparent that he was seriously injured. Sadly he passed away before the arrival of the ambulance. His tragic death prompted the pre-unity body SARU (not to be confused with the current South African Rugby Union) to establish a similar fund in his honour – The Petro Jackson Memorial Fund.
The Fund honours the following members whom have served on the various committees of the Fund over the years:
HO de Villiers
Schalk Burger Snr
Iszak de Villiers
SJ de Villiers
Daan du Plessis