On 12th May 2020, a long-time dream came to life! The ISSF (International Sports Sciences Forum (iss-forum.net) was born.

PAST EVENTS:

WEB #001 – 27/01/2021 [HEALTH & WEALTH in Sports]

WEB #002 – 08/03/2021 [Global Women’s Rugby]

FORTHCOMING:

WEB #003 – 25/05/2021 [Global Football-Soccer]

WEB #004 – July 2021 (TBC) [The Two Equine Athletes]

To date we have held the following global webinars

INAUGURATION

We’ve been organising ourselves, inviting colleagues, organising webinars, approaching Universities Worldwide, institutes of Sports, related Foundations, it has been a steady 5-month growth period. We are ready now, preparing ourselves for a big 2021! – COVID or not COVID we are on our way, developing a very ambitious and unique holistic concept-academy. Our 360 degree inter-disciplinary and intra-disciplinary approach to EDUCATION, AWARENESS and PREVENTION is a global first in Sports Sciences.

CHROLOGICAL BACKGROUND HISTORY

1971 – February-March, enrolment in Psychology (Behavioural & Occupational) at the National University of Cordoba. Also commenced Rugby Union at the University Campus from scratch.

1974 – The arrival of family, forced me to ‘drop’ something, and studies were first cab off the rank for me those days (today? well you may know well my answer!)

1975 – 1976, Cordoba Province Selection,

1977 – Selected for Argentinian Provinces vs France (1st International test-match in Salta)

1978 – 1983, Argentine Rugby Selection (Pumas)

1981 – July, living in Cordoba, Argentina, I did suffer myself and injury playing hooker for Tala RC vs Bajo Palermo RC, on a Sunday, just 24 hours after having played a test-match Pumas vs England in Buenos Aires (19-19 draw). I luckily recovered in a three weeks lay off (yet it took me 18 months to recover my ‘normal’/habitual neck and shoulder strength). afterwards while directing and running my own TOPO’s GYM (from 1978-1983), I immersed myself into studying and learning about strategies and methods for spinal & neck injuries prevention. Indeed, fitness, neck strength, and proper scrummaging techniques were big part of it.

1982 – March, Captain of the Argentine Provinces Selection to tour New Zealand, later aborted due to the South Atlantic conflict with Great Britain.

1983 – July|August Pumas Tour of Australia (Test Series level at 1-1)

1984 – June, living in Sydney Australia – A rugby accident suffered by Grant Harper while playing (Shute Shield 1st grade for Western Suburbs RFC) vs Sydney University (local) was quite dramatically air-lifted in a helicopter. This was my second ‘mark’. I said to myself, not going to wait for the ‘third’ and that was my ‘official’ beginnings in this complex and risky area.

October-November-December, The 8th Wallabies Grand Slam, 10-week tour of UK and Ireland.

1985 – September, three spinal accidents in rugby (one ended the life of Andrew Ward (18 yr.) playing front-row forward for Epping Cavaliers RC. (01/09/85) at Tunks Park, Cammeray NSW. From 1977 till 1985, 6 players died and another 7 became quadriplegic in NSW Rugby Union.

October – Following the sudden public outburst by nurses of several Spinal Injury Units, and families asking Wallaby Coach Alan B. Jones, “Mr Jones, please stop the killer scrums” . Having at hand demonstrated preparation and prevention techniques, I did approach the Sydney Morning Herald senior sports journalist, authority Mr Jim Webster. A full back page article ensued, showing photos of my ‘neck exercise routine’ with a thick and heavy English-Spanish-English dictionary, on top of my desk (at the State Bank Fitness Centre, where I worked from 1985-1992).

1986 – March, the NSW Department of Sports and Recreating (headed by Minister Michael Cleary MP) I collaborated with other experts to produce a comprehensive brochure and a VHS video on Sports Safety and Spinal Injury Protection and Injury Prevention information, where my exercises featured prominently. This package was distributed throughout to more than 5.000 NSW state schools.

August-September, Rugby tour of New Zealand, Bledisloe Cup winning Wallaby team (Eden Park stadium, 06/09/1986)

1987 – May|June, first Rugby World Cup ever (NZ and Australia hosted).

October|November, Last tour, Argentina (Australian Captain vs Mendoza) and retirement.

1996 – May 16th, presented to the ARFU (Australian Rugby football Union) a proposal to develop an Injury Prevention and Player Development Program, with an emphasis on “Safety First” nationwide. the short, sweet and straight answer was “Thank you, we are sufficiently covered in these areas”.

1996 – 2002, I was invited by Professor John D. Yeo, to be part of his team with the Board of Director with SPINESAFE Limited. Amongst the Directors we had Chairman Hon John Brown AO (formerly Labour Minister for Sports, Recreation and Tourism) and Vice-Chairman John Newcombe AO OBE (tennis champion ranked No 1 in both singles and doubles). Prof Yeo, Executive Director was then “leader in the prevention and rehabilitation of people with spinal injuries. Also the Founder and Director of the Spinal Research Foundation in 1976, as well as Founder and Chairman of SPINESAFE Limited since 1995.

1996 – Commenced the writing of a Scrummaging Manual for Coaches, where I expressed all my knowledge on this subject, but also my sentiments and commitment towards spinal injury prevention. It would take me 16 arduous years to complete after pouring into it 21 years of experiences (42 test-matches played for Argentina, Tahiti and Australia). I also supplemented my general knowledge with specific self-teachings on the Scrum Laws, Biomechanics and Fitness Preparation.

1997 – November, Dr Luis Poggi (UAR), Prof. Jorge Braceras (IRB), and Ignacio Rizzi (President, Rugby Amistad Foundation) invited me to give a dissertation at a symposium titled ‘PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS IN RUGBY’ held at the CENARD (Centro Nacional de Deportes de Alto Rendimiento) Buenos Aires 06/11/1997.

1998 – July, the writing of “SNIP” (Spinal & Neck Injuries Prevention program) gave me a great sense of professional achievement and personal fulfilment, by merits of knowing, this program WILL SAVE LIVES AND PREVENT MANY PREVENTABLE INJURIES (yet later on???). This work was produced with great help from several exercise physiologists, chiropractors and physicians, I devised a a comprehensive education, preparation and prevention program (world first) which I later presented at an International Conference titled FOOTBALL AUSTRALASIA “Reducing the Injury List“, held at the Melbourne Hilton on the Park Hotel, July 22-24, 1998. This program was presented to the ARU (Australian Rugby Union) and ARL (Australian Rugby League). Nonetheless, the SNIP was shelved, abandoned due to the lack of ‘official interest’ and/or ‘funding’.

1999 – Founded The Rugby Guild of Sydney (TRGOS), a social philanthropic NFP|NGO group who did get together four times a year at Fund & Fun Raising Luncheons (30 people maximum per gatherings). I did run this select group of 350 members for 12 years

2005 – August, Founded the ARA (Australian Rugby Academy) NFP|NGO with the remit to work exclusively on ‘grassroots’ level, engaging 30 Coaches, 300 players, and 60 managers to deliver development programs. Amongst them a Scrum and Forward Play Academy, to work on Technique and Safety. Developed the concept, attracted a group of 60 people, plus prospective sponsors. Yet after 18 months of pushing it and knocking on many doors, and as I got used to through the years, my good and advanced ideas were, not-to-be-officially-supported by the Australian Rugby y Union. (Not even a stamp/logo of endorsement). I’d say pretty hurtful after having coached the 1984-1987 Wallaby scrum which dominated world rugby, most of our opponents for at least 3 years. Yet, life goes on, the caravan moves on and so we must.

2007 – 2013, Founded with a group of wonderful friends the TF4e (TOPO Foundation for Education), another NFP, NGO, which was later re-named as BEF (BIPOLAR Education Foundation Limited) which I run for 7 years until we the Board decided to close it up due to lack of funding. We had a Team of 15 volunteers who delivered Mental Health Management Plans (MHMP) to the community (schools, clubs, senior citizens, etc.)

2012 – August, finally completed my Scrummaging Manual for coaches, self-published ‘The ART of Scrummaging’ (a 220-page thesis) presented as, A History, A manual, and Law Dissertation on The Rugby Scrum in August 2012. First published by Rugby Friends of Sydney (ISBN: 978-0-9872103-0-2.

2015 – September, published through Meyer + Meyer Sports (Germany) un updated second version called RUGBY – The ART of Scrummaging II (ISBN: 978-1-78255-059-4. In this book I argued about the ‘un-necessary-complexity’ of the Scrum Law (written and promulgated by the International Rugby Board). Since 2005 the IRB gave the power to their Referees, to dictate on the Laws of the game. Very simply, the global authority for Law making n this world were and are ‘Professional Law Makers’ governed by a completely different mind-set and application. there you have it, 15 years of inefficiency, lives lost and accidents had. More often than not, quadriplegia/hemiplegia are sadly associated with comorbidity (depression, heart and/or lungs failure).

2015 – October, decided to switch my energies to Bilateral Relationships between Australia and Argentina, so after 9-mnths of intensive research founded the AABC (Australian-Argentine Business Council), another NFP|NGO, with main objectives being to foster and promote bilateral connections in the areas of Arts, Culture, Education, Sports, Produce, Natural Resources and infrastructure.

For the last 12 months have been ‘tinkering’ with several great (to me) ideas (so people say!) and finally decided to go back to the future with Sports Sciences, Education, Awareness & Prevention, something I’ve been doing on and off for the last 40 years. However, this time with a little-big twist, LADIES FIRST!

Enrique TOPO Rodriguez

  • Impresario and Philanthropist.
  • Triple Rugby Union International (1971-1992)
  • Wallaby Captain 1987
  • Multiple Award-Winning Author
  • Executive Chairman, The ERC Group
  • Founder, LEADERSHIPCOACHINGS.COM
  • Founder and Convener ISSF.

PO Box 4131, Carlton NSW 2218 Australia ~ 18/10/2020

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