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Media must allow bereaved rugby families to mourn

By Fred Ollows | Saturday, Dec 24th 2016 at 12:08
The late Ogeto (left) and Victor Wayodi (right) [Photo: Courtesy]

Mwamba RFC has released a statement on the unfortunate passing on of their promising scrum half, Victor Wayodi.

This came just days after Nondescripts’ Ogeto Gecheo died after suffering a spinal injury during a match.

The solace that these clubs need is well beyond words. We can only wish them the comfort of the memories of those departed and that time eventually returns a measure of perspective to the difficult situation.

Which brings me to my first note. We must never forget, as we ask our ‘many questions that remain unanswered,’ that the people we lose have been lent us by their various families for the pursuits that they share with us.

So, as the media ‘demand’ answers, they must remember that they will never mourn more than the bereaved families.

They must be sensitive enough to realise that the loss is so overwhelming that they may not be keen on immediate answers.

Ogeto suffered a match injury, and underwent largely successful surgery. Post surgical complications dealt the ultimate blow through respiratory problems. Wayodi’s was caused by a heart problem. Rugby was proximate, but not really the cause.

This accuracy is necessary to determine how next we, outside the family, progress. One, player welfare and safety in general, remain the biggest concern of the rugby fraternity.

In fact, World Rugby typically requires that catastrophic injuries be reported for analysis.

It is important that we review all our safety, injury and medical procedures at all levels: playing, coaching, refereeing, administering, managing and governing.

This will never totally eliminate risk. However, it makes the risk manageable.

There’s a big difference between eliminating risk and making it manageable. If we want to totally eliminate risk, then we may as well not leave our houses.

Then again, because of many years of other negligence and other unforeseeable instances, the roof must collapse on us.

My condolences to the families that must deal with losses at a very fundamental level. May you find peace even if it seems far-fetched now. To the rugby family, especially Kulabu and Nond-i, we pray with you.

Our unity will make the difference.

-Ollows is a former KRFU CEO and played rugby for the national team.

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