Utilisation of an inflatable advertising hoarding developed by New Zealand company Packaworld would prevent any recurrence of the sickening injuries suffered by Australian Rugby League player Luke Lewis in the weekend.
Lewis was knocked unconscious and dislocated his shoulder -- the latter requiring 20 minutes to reset -- when sliding over the dead-ball line and into a traditional solid advertising hoarding in the Kangaroos’ World Cup fixture against Fiji at Langtree Park (St Helens, England).
Citing Lewis’ own comments -- “I probably should have thought about it more ... you don't really think about it, you are sort of in the zone at the time” -- Packaworld director Pete Roberts is calling for sports administrators to address an obvious danger to player safety.
“Given the commitment required to succeed at top-level sport, players are expected to put their bodies on the line.
“The responsibility therefore is on sports administrators and tournament organisers to ensure incidents like this do not occur in the future.”
Mr Roberts acknowledges the revenue stream generated by advertising hoardings provides crucial funding to modern-day sport, but citing TV3 sports commentator Sam Ackerman, the traditional structures are “a recipe for disaster”.
“At present, sports administrators are essentially expecting our athletes to accommodate these structures when executing desperate game-winning moves at pace, as opposed to the stadium layout accommodating the players.
“Whereas, a 100%-safe and proven solution in the form of the inflatable Packasign is now readily available.”
Able to be inflated in minutes, robust and readily secured, the Packasign product has no metal or wooden surfaces, no sharp angles and thereby provides completely forgiving collision properties.
Mr Roberts is currently seeking discussions with ACC, the New Zealand Rugby League and other sports administration bodies.
To review footage of the Luke Lewis collision http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsWdBR-4BKA&feature=youtu.be