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Tackling Paralysis

How the rugby community is helping its own

Former England rugby international and Spinal Research Patron, Jason Leonard OBE, is heading up our rugby fundraising initiative called Tackling Paralysis.

Every day four people in the UK sustain a spinal cord injury, and every rugby player knows that when they walk onto the pitch they are putting their bodies on the line. Unfortunately injuries can and do happen, devastating the lives of young players, their families and their friends.

At Spinal Research our try line is to develop the life changing research needed to beat paralysis. 

Launching in 2021, our Tackling Paralysis campaign is aiming to raise £500,000 to create a pipeline of projects which will transform promising spinal stimulation technology into meaningful and widespread treatments.

This pipeline has the potential to change the quality-of-life for those injured whilst playing rugby as well as the wider SCI community. The aim is to restore function, increasing independence and spontaneity.

Starting with our #DropKickChallenge through to holding fundraising events and club nights, you and your club can play role in Tackling Paralysis!


Fancy yourself as the next Johnny Wilkinson? Take on our #DropKickChallenge and show us your skills. We will shortlist the furthest, the funniest and the most creative freestyle dropkicks you post online.

Watch the video, pick a target on or off the rugby pitch and challenge your friends. To share your entry, follow the steps below.

Kick, tag and text!

Show the world your #DropKickChallenge!

  • Pick a target - Remember this doesn't have to be on the rugby pitch. At home, in the office or when you're out and about-there are loads of fun targets to choose!
  • Take your shot- Don't forget to film your kick, and pick your best furthest, funniest or most creative freestyle effort.
  • Share your entry-Share your entry on your socials. Don't forget to tag your efforts with @Spinal Research, and use the #DropKickChallenge.
  • Nominate-Tag three of your friends, and challenge them to take the #DropKickChallenge.


Help support the campaign texting RUGBY plus the amount you wish to donate to 70490 or make an online donation to

Texts cost one standard rate message plus the amount you want to donate (default value is £5) and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £5 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text RUGBYNOINFO 5 to 70490.


Other ways to help Tackle Paralysis

Help us get over the line

There are loads of ways you can help fundraise through your club. Some of the simplest include:

  • Match day fundraising - Organise a half-time/post match bucket collection with supporters.
  • Fundraise with food and drink -You could get the club together for a fundraise curry or barbecue night. How about nominating one of your beers on tap as a charity beer, and donating some money to research for every beer sold across the season. 
  • Clubhouse fundraising - Hold a special fundraising club night in aid of Spinal Research. For example a quiz night or even karaoke are great ways to have fun and raise money.
  • Marathon match -Hold a 12 hour or 24-hour sponsored marathon match with funds going to Spinal Research.


Our fundraising pack has all the details you need to get started!

In addition if you are a coach, or help run a rugby club we have a special presentation pack which will provide the guidance you need to talk to fellow club members or your fundraising committee about our work and the campaign. Email for the presentation and step-by-step guide.

“Spinal Research is funding ground-breaking pilot projects that have the potential to deliver meaningful treatments for those injured whilst playing rugby, as well as the wider SCI community. Crucial funds are now needed to raise monies for this ground-breaking work.”

Max Levene

Since his rugby accident in 2009, Max remains an avid rugby and sports fan in general, regularly attending live fixtures (where most of his earnings go). Working within the sports sector as an economist is a great aspiration of his and something he continues to work towards. In 2020 he has made close connections with other injured rugby players, establishing a community of support during this pandemic and looks forward to regular meet-ups and trips with them in the future.
Read Max's story.