OUR SAY: Rugby is one sport tackling a hidden killer with a game plan

Sport has rarely been about just turning up, wandering onto the field and beating the opposition hands down.

It takes planning, forethought and getting the right resources including the players, staff, game plan and training.

And so it is with life, and death.

Planning is needed to survive and succeed.

After losing a mate 20 years ago to suicide and hearing of several more recently including the death of former Wallaby Dan Vickerman, rugby union Colts coach Damien Grant has been inspired to act to try to stop the incidence of suicide.

“We need to have support networks out there,” he said.

“We know that we have got the agencies [to help]. It’s getting people to go to them that is our challenge.

“While I was at a wake for a friend at the beginning of the year, I had a couple of people say to me that they had contemplated it [ending their life] themselves.

“I just woke up the next day and thought, how many others are like that?”

Central West Rugby has taken up his ideas by asking all clubs, including Orange City and Orange Emus, to identify a support person who, armed with knowledge about support services, can be the link people suffering from mental health problems can talk to.

Both Orange clubs are to be congratulated for taking the idea on board.

City is building a team of support people, officials and players, to give sufferers options about who to talk to.

It is also planning to offer the information to its junior teams and netball teams.

Emus has identified a support person who will receive the appropriate training to be available for support.

Mr Grant said the support co-ordinator will also keep an eye on those involved with the club – players, coaches and supporters – to lookout for any concerning signs of change in their behaviour.

“We have RUOK Day. My theory is every day is RUOK Day,” he said.

It is scheme that might be spread to other spheres, including workplaces, where people can be plut in touch with the right support services.

The more that people can talk about their problems without fear of being judged and where the right solutions can be identified then the more lives can be saved.

And that is a great plan.

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