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Matt takes players' charity role

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Matt Hampson has become the first ambassador for the PRA Benevolent Fund, The Players' Charity.

A training accident in 2005 left Matt paralysed from the neck down and unable to breathe unaided but he continues to show great courage in the face of adversity.

Matt's role with the PRA will focus on raising awareness of The Players' Charity and the work it does to support players who have been forced to retire from the game due to serious injury or illness, and support players' families in the event of their untimely death.

Through the generous support of businesses, rugby supporters and players, the PRA Benevolent Fund has been able to raise thousands of pounds each year to help players and their families who are in need.

In recent years The Players Charity has made significant donations to players including Sale Sharks' Andy Blyth, London Irish full-back Jarrod Cunningham and former Bristol full-back Alastair Hignell, who was forced to retire from a successful media career in 2008 due to the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis, and Matt Hampson himself.

Matt said: "The PRA Benevolent Fund is a fantastic cause that really does make a difference to the lives of rugby players when they are in times of greatest need. As a beneficiary myself, I can personally vouch for the great work that the PRA do to help current and former players.

“In today's professional game an increasing number of players are suffering career-ending injury, so it is imperative that the PRA Benevolent Fund continues to grow. This is a great opportunity for me to help further that work."

Alastair Hignell, a former England international, said: "The support that the PRA has given Matt and I in recent years has been invaluable in helping us meet the essential costs of living with serious injury and illness.

“Matt is a fantastic example of the values and ethos that rugby embodies, and I know he will be an outstanding ambassador for the PRA Benevolent Fund."

PRA chief executive Damian Hopley added: "The PRA are honoured and privileged that Matt has accepted this role as ambassador for the PRA Benevolent Fund.

“The energy and determination that he has shown in his own rehabilitation, in backing medical research into spinal injuries and in continuing to promote the values and ethos of rugby have been an inspiration to all who have met or heard about him.

“We are very much looking forward to working with Matt to further highlight the great cause of the PRA Benevolent Fund in the future."