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KRU’s statement on death of rugby players


Kenya Rugby Union has released a statement regarding the recent death of rugby players in the country.

The Rugby fraternity has witnessed the death of several stars in the recent past and in March, the country lost Tony Onyango who collapsed and died while at his home.  He had served the country from the under 19 matches to the senior category.

Eliakim Oundo, on the other hand, died while undergoing surgery a few days after picking a head injury during the Busia County games. With Tony set to laid to rest this Friday 20 March and his post morterm results yet to be released, the union wants speculations and accusations to be avoided.

In the statement, the Union says all its affiliate clubs have guidelines on player medical pre-screening before rugby activities. The Union has requested all institutions taking part in rugby to ensure coaches have World Rugby certification to ensure compliance with acceptable standards and practices.

The statement reads:

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) would like to make the below statement regarding recent incidents involving Rugby Players.


Tony Onyango Opondo had at the time of his death represented Kenya across all junior and senior national squads. He also had an illustrious and titled club career over the past decade with Resolution Impala Saracens, Strathmore Leos, Homeboyz and KCB. His death on Tuesday 3 March 2020 was both shocking and unfortunate as it occurred at the prime of his career and we await the post morterm results

While we are still coming to terms with Tony’s passing, we also have learnt with deep regret the death of Eliakim Oundo of Sigalame High School who passed away this past weekend after sustaining an injury during an inter-school match in Busia County.  We extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and teammates and pray for their strength during this trying time.

Whereas this particular inter-schools competition is run by KSSSA, KRU is in constant communication with the organizers in terms of expected standards for the event inclusive of player welfare.

In these trying times, as the two gentlemen are laid to rest, we request their families be given space to mourn peacefully, without undue speculation or accusations.  May they both Rest in Peace.It is instructive to note that KRU has issued guidelines on player medical pre-screening before players take part in rugby activity, involving the use of a standard questionnaire and recommended tests. KRU also regularly runs courses on player welfare-related issues like Concussion Management, First Aid in Rugby and Immediate Care in Rugby. KRU has an appreciated list of qualified personnel to run the said courses as well to offer any advice that may be sought.  World Rugby also provides online resources which help in the above-mentioned courses.

The KRU encourages all coaches to subscribe to the World Rugby site and take the online courses which are a prerequisite to any certification they may seek to acquire.

We would like to encourage any organization or institution seeking to participate in rugby to make use of coaches who attain the requisite World Rugby certification to ensure compliance with acceptable standards and practices.


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