We love it when a campaign we’ve worked on continues to bear fruit well beyond our involvement. Two years ago, we worked on the #LetIanPlay campaign with Ian McKinley, a professional rugby-player from Ireland, who is now based in Italy.
In 2010, Ian lost the sight in one eye following a freak accident during a domestic game. Having retired as a result, he was able to return to professional rugby in 2014 thanks to the development of protective goggles.
When we worked with Ian, World Rugby was trialling the protective goggles , with more than 20 global rugby unions participating in the trial. However, up until 2016, the IRFU declined to join the trial, meaning Ian could not play rugby on his home soil.
In October 2015, we launched the #LetIanPlay campaign to highlight this issue. The campaign secured high-profile media coverage and mass public support, including over 10,000 signatures on an online petition in just 24 hours. Ultimately, it led to the IRFU reversing its decision and joining the World Rugby goggles trial.
Ian McKinley’s Remarkable Comeback
Fast-forward two years, and there has been lots about Ian’s remarkable comeback in the media in recent weeks. The reason? Against all the odds, he’s been called into the Italian squad for the autumn internationals – nearly eight years after his horrific eye injury.
There’s a very real possibility that we’ll see Ian lining out for Italy against Ireland in the coming months! Here’s a great article on his comeback from The Guardian at the weekend.
We’re delighted to see Ian doing so well, and wish him every success in his future career 🙂