Legendary All Black Sir Bryan Williams, KNZM MBE, is patron and former chair of the Wishbone Orthopaedic Research Foundation of New Zealand. Sir Bryan played on the wing for the All Blacks from 1970 to 1978, playing 113 matches including 38 tests. He has also coached the Samoan national rugby team.
Sir Bryan says he took on the role of chair of the Foundation in 2013 after being approached by outgoing chair Sir Wilson Whineray.
“He explained to me that they were seeking another independent chair, someone who wasn’t an orthopaedic surgeon, to offer a different perspective on things. I was very willing to be involved.
“I hadn’t heard of the Foundation before that, but as someone who has had a hip replacement operation, and then the same hip done two more times, it resonated with me.”
Sir Bryan dislocated his hip in 1977 while playing in a test match against France, and has had ongoing challenges with that hip since then.
“The fact that there’s a lot if orthopaedic research going on is fantastic. Pain – particularly when you’re older – is debilitating and if it can be relieved by orthopaedic research and coming up with new methodology, that’s great.
“We’d love to have enough money to fund all the very worthwhile research that’s underway.”
Sir Bryan is also a trustee of the New Zealand Rugby Foundation, which supports players who have been severely injured playing rugby. He says the two Foundations have a lot of cross over, as they both seek to make life better for people who are living with pain or disability.