Discovery SharkSmart Schools of Excellence Media Release

 No: DSSE1409

2 Oct 2014

 Embargo : None

Written by: Nick Tatham

SharkSmart Programme evolves to ensure relevance

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 well-being.

The programme is driven by a core philosophy of “Play Safe, Play Fair” and strives to reduce the number of injuries in high school sport by:
•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 effect.

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


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The Discovery SharkSmart Schools of Excellence programme regularly facilitates access to the latest technology and information from the Cell C Sharks to assist participating schools to better prepare and condition their athletes. Nick Tatham/
Gameplan Media
The Discovery SharkSmart Schools of Excellence programme sets guidelines for minimum medical standards at all schoolboy rugby matches, and specifies the latest guidelines on concussion management and return-to-play protocols. Supplied/
Gameplan Media
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