LONDON, 16 February 2022 – England Rugby legend and 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Lewis Moody MBE has been named as the Rugby Union Ambassador for The Drake Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to funding research into the health effects of head injuries in sport and beyond.
Moody will spearhead The Drake Foundation’s efforts in all areas linked to Rugby Union and will play a pivotal role in driving positive change in player welfare protocols in the sport.
Moody enjoyed a glittering playing career both domestically and internationally, winning every major honour available including the English Premiership, European Cup, Six Nations and the 2003 Rugby World Cup. During his 16-year career he made over 250 senior appearances at club level, for Leicester Tigers and Bath Rugby, and won 71 caps for his country.
Moody’s experience in the professional game, and his passion for making Rugby Union a safer sport for participants at all levels, made him the perfect partner for The Drake Foundation.
In his role as Rugby Union Ambassador, Moody will support The Drake Foundation achieve its key objectives of understanding and improving the health and welfare of rugby players through scientific research and collaboration.
Moody will also advocate for the wider implementation of safe sporting practices at all levels of the sport, such as introducing mandatory limits on contact in training and exploring law changes to help reduce the number of head impacts during matches.
Last year, two pioneering studies funded by The Drake Foundation raised concerns about the brain health of players. The neuroimaging wing off the Drake Rugby Biomarker Study found that 23% of current elite players had structural abnormalities to their brains’ white matter or blood vessels. The BRAIN study found that elite players from the amateur era aged 75 and over who had suffered three or more concussions had a poorer cognitive function score than those with fewer or no concussions. In addition, research conducted by The Drake Foundation found that two thirds of adults who either play rugby or have children who do are concerned about the sport’s effect on long-term brain health.
The Drake Foundation continues to fund and support research that will provide the evidence base upon which to drive positive change to the welfare of athletes at all levels across a variety of sports. The Foundation has also recently expanded its mission beyond sport to investigate the long-term brain health effects of intimate partner violence, in a pioneering study led by Dr Willie Stewart. Since its inception the Foundation has provided more than £2.2 million for research, symposia and open access resources.
Commenting on his appointment as Rugby Union Ambassador for The Drake Foundation, Lewis Moody MBE said: “I’m delighted to join The Drake Foundation as its official Rugby Union Ambassador. The Foundation is passionate about making sport as safe as it can be for all who play it, which is a passion we share deeply.
“Rugby has given me so much as a player and a person and I want the current and future generations to experience the same level of enjoyment of the sport, in the safest possible way. I’m looking forward to working with The Drake Foundation and supporting its aims around better understanding of head impacts and improving player welfare.”
James Drake, Founder & Chairman of The Drake Foundation, added: “We’re incredibly excited to announce that Lewis has joined The Drake Foundation as its first Rugby Union Ambassador. Lewis enjoyed an unbelievably successful career and his robust playing style is legendary. We share a deep love for the sport but also a passion for making it safer for the players who take part in it at all levels. Lewis is the perfect individual to help further propel us towards those aims, at a time when greater research into player safety has never been more important.”
For more information about The Drake Foundation visit www.drakefoundation.org
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ABOUT THE DRAKE FOUNDATION:
The Drake Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation committed to understanding and improving the health and welfare of people impacted by head injuries, including sports players and IPV (intimate partner violence) survivors, through scientific research and collaboration.
Founded in 2014 by James Drake, the Foundation has since invested more than £2.2 million into research funding and open access resources.
The majority of this funding to date has gone into research into sport-related head injuries and long-term health outcomes, with the objective of making sport safer and providing valuable insights into the processes underlying neurogenerative diseases, such as dementia. In 2021, the Foundation expanded its portfolio to include research into brain injury from IPV.
Amongst the projects that The Drake Foundation funds are the HEADING study, which is investigating the link between neurogenerative disease and a professional football career, and the BRAIN study, working with retired rugby players to understand the association between a history of concussion and neurogenerative disease.
For more information on The Drake Foundation’s sports projects, please visit: https://www.drakefoundation.org/our-projects/