SharkSmart Programme evolves to
Durban – With the changing of the season comes a shift in focus of
the pioneering Discovery SharkSmart programme that reaches twenty
three leading schools in KwaZulu-Natal, delivering a continually
evolving stream of content aimed at ensuring that pupils and
coaches get the latest medical and sport science information that
is relevant to their lives.
After being established in 2001 the Discovery SharkSmart Programme
has grown exponentially. The Discovery SharkSmart Schools of
Excellence Programme was launched in 2010, with ten high schools
involved. Today the programme involves twenty three schools from
around the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal , encouraging each to buy
into the mantra of ‘Play Safe Play Fair’ and adhere to guidelines
laid out by the programme in relation to rugby and general
The programme is driven by a core philosophy of “Play Safe, Play
Fair” and strives to reduce the number of injuries in high school
•improving medical care standards at school sports events,
•encouraging the adoption of the latest sporting techniques,
•improving the understanding of injury prevention,
•promoting sportsmanship and fair play.
The Programme is driven within the schools by the Discovery
SharkSmart Schools of Excellence Champions whom in most cases are
the Director of Sport or Rugby. Representatives from the Programme
visit the schools and meet regularly with the SharkSmart Champions
to provide guidance on the various guidelines.
The twenty three schools participate in the programme are Clifton
College, Crawford La Lucia, Crawford College North Coast, Curro
Hillcrest Christian Academy, Durban High School, George Campbell
School, Glenwood High School, Hillcrest High School, Hilton
College, Kearsney College, Kingsway High School, Kloof High School,
Kuswag, Maritzburg College, Michaelhouse, Northwood, Port Natal,
Southcity College, St Charles College, Treverton, Voortrekker High
School, Weston Agricultural College, Westville Boys High School.
The schools participating in SharkSmart are invited to attend a
variety of seminars and workshops where members of The Sharks
Coaching and Medical Staff share their knowledge.
The schools are encouraged to incorporate the Discovery SharkSmart
Schools of Excellence logo in their communiqués to the students’
parents and as well as to their various communities. Their
participation in the programme is further acknowledged through a
variety of channels linked to The Sharks, including reference to
them in The Sharks Match Day Programmes and The Sharks Magazines.
Regular communiqués providing updated information are distributed
to the schools. In recent years, Discovery SharkSmart has developed
a number of posters on injury prevention which have assisted in
promoting the programme’s philosophy.
In recent years the programme has taken a firm stand on thorny
issues such as the use of steroids, stimulants and the dangers of
using unverified supplements.
Spearheaded by Dr Glen Hagemann, the Discovery SharkSmart Programme
aligns it’self with the SA Rugby BokSmart Programme and the SA
institute for Drug Free Sport.
The use of banned substances by school children has been a hugely
pressing issue of late amongst schools and this is something that
the SharkSmart Programme has addressed to a great extent and has
been instrumental in trying to bring drug testing into schools.
Another issue that has been addressed over the past season and
something that will always remain an issue is concussion. There
have been a number of laws that have been introduced into the game
with regards to concussion and adhering to them at a school rugby
level is something that the Programme feels strongly about.
Having appropriately qualified medical personnel at school boy
rugby fixtures is paramount to the safety of the players and
SharkSmart provides guidelines on how this can be achieved.
A vital cog in the SharkSmart machine is the understanding of rules
and the implementation of them which means that it is important
that the programme is vocal in letting the schools participating in
the programme know about new laws or protocols when they come into
Founder of the Programme Dr Glen Hagemann is happy with the strides
that it has made over the years and is excited about the future.
“We have come a long way from when we started,” Hagemann said. “It
was and is a one-of-a-kind programme in South Africa and over the
years we have been able to grow the number of participating schools
regularly which shows that our work has relevance.”
For more information visit the
Discovery SharkSmart website