On Sunday 15th April the first ever National Transplant Football Tournament took place at the Oxford City Football Ground. All of the competitors that took part have had a lifesaving organ transplant, with recipients including kidney, pancreas, heart, liver, lung and bone marrow transplants, all of whom demonstrate the benefits of sport after transplantation.
There were 5 teams from around the UK competing in this 6-a-side tournament, sanctioned by and officiated by the Oxfordshire FA. One of the main aims of tournament was to select a cohort of individuals who will then go on to represent Transplant Team GB and NI at the World Transplant Games 2019 in Newcastle in an International Football Competition. Football is our national sport and this was a key event demonstrating the ability and safety of transplant recipients to participate in football at all levels. A great outcome from the day was that we were able to engage more recipients within Transplant Sport. 40% of the participants were taking part in their first ever Transplant sport event, demonstrating the power of these events in bringing together individuals from the transplant community. We hope now that these individuals will go onto be involved in this year’s British Transplant Games. Congratulations to the winners of the tournament, Team Nottingham who played fantastically winning all there games and also to the player of the Tournament Nick Miller also from team Nottingham. All the individuals who took part were winners and it’s a real demonstration of the life changing outcome of an organ transplant.
Daley Cross, Transplant Sport Football Representative and organiser of the tournament said: “The event was fantastic, it achieved everything we wanted it to. To see 38 transplant recipients come together and play football competitively was really special, it demonstrates the passion for football amongst the transplant community. We are hugely grateful to Oxford City for allowing us to use their facilities and very grateful to Oxfordshire FA for their support. The event gave us the fantastic opportunity to promote greater awareness and understanding of the important need for more people to sign on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and hopefully save more lives. Many of the athletes have experienced near death situations and a long illness, and it is wonderful to see them able to enjoy a full life, thanks to organ donation. We also aim to promote Organ Donation within the local area so hopefully the Organ Donation Register.”
Currently more than 6,500 people in the UK are currently waiting for a transplant and sadly, three people die waiting every day. Only 32 per cent of the UK population are actually registered as organ donors, and the reality is, that 40 per cent of the next of kin still refuse to give consent to donate their loved ones’ organs!
Paul Harden, Chairman of Transplant Sport and Transplant Consultant at The Churchill Hospital, Oxford says: “Transplant Sport aims to raise awareness of the need for organ donation in the UK by organising sporting and social events for those who have received a transplant. It was great to see 38 organ transplant recipients from around the UK participate in the first ever national transplant football competition. This was a clear demonstration that any transplant recipient can safely play football. We hope to encourage many more transplant recipients to participate in football at both the British Transplant Games in Birmingham this August and next years National Football Competition in Oxford.”
For further information, please contact Transplant Sport Admin Team on 0771 265 8150.
Transplant Sport is the charity which organises sports and social events for transplant recipients to demonstrate the benefits of organ donation and prove that you can lead a normal and active life again after transplantation. Transplant Sport host the British Transplant Games every year and participants of all ages and ability enjoy taking part in over 20 different events. All have received a lifesaving transplant and celebrate their gift of life together. The transplant athletes also compete at the World Transplant Games which runs every two years. Transplant Sport actively promotes the importance of having the organ donation conversation with families and friends, ensuring that they are aware of individual wishes on organ donation, and do not refuse to give consent because of a lack of knowledge. Whichever legislation is agreed throughout the UK, opt in or opt out, the family will still have the final say. 40% of potential donor families are currently not consenting to organ donation. Transplant Sport supports any public education initiatives that will improve the family consent rate and save more lives.
For more information visit www.transplantsport.org.uk
NHS Organ Donor Register -Transplant patients owe their lives to the generosity of others, who donate the ‘Gift of Life’. Please help to raise public awareness about transplantation and sign up on the Organ Donor register. To register, and for more information please go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk, or contact the NHS Organ Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23
To join the Anthony Nolan bone marrow donor register or for further information go to: http://www.anthonynolan.org/