Footballers and firies team up to boost health and welfare

Published: 28th February 2019

Firefighters will have more health and wellbeing services at their fingertips thanks to a new partnership with one of the state’s premier rugby league clubs, Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said.

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has joined forces with the South Sydney Rabbitohs to ensure officers have the support they need to stay fit and mentally healthy on the job.

Mr Grant welcomed the collaboration and praised the work of the state’s firefighting heroes.

“Our firies do an incredible job under often difficult circumstances that can take their toll both physically and mentally, so this new partnership is a fantastic way to ensure they have as much support away from the frontline as they do when they’re battling blazes,” Mr Grant said.

The partnership – a one-year trial that will be reviewed for potential expansion next year –  recognises firies as having similar demands to athletes in that the physical fitness and resilience required for their role is consistent with that of elite sporting champions.

Firefighters will therefore have access to the Rabbitohs’ high performance staff to help develop their skills and resilience to better support them in the future.

They will also have access to specialist medical services including physiotherapy, strength and conditioning coaches, sports psychology, and exercise science.

FRNSW Assistant Commissioner Paul McGuiggan said the partnership with the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ reflects their commitment to their workforce and builds on existing services within the agency.

“This will build on our existing support networks, and give our firefighters access to elite training, treatment and rehabilitation programs to help boost physical and psychological resilience, strengthen resistance to injury and improve return to work outcomes after injury or illness,” he said.

“This partnership will also play a big part in helping deliver our community safety messages, promoting diversity and opening up new pathways to Indigenous and female recruitment.”

South Sydney Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly said: “We have a great facility, and huge amount of understanding, experience and skill in preparing athletes.”

“We’re now extremely proud and excited to share this facility, understanding and experience with some of the most courageous, hard-working and respected members of our community,” Mr Solly said. 

The new partnership is also being supported by $175,000 in funding from the Insurance and Care NSW (icare) Foundation.

“icare is committed to making a real difference and this partnership continues our innovative work to protect and care for the health and wellbeing of NSW workers,” icare Foundation General Manager Barney Smith said.