Charity hit out for polo players in support of injured comrades

Polo internationals Hilario Ulloa and Facundo Pieres.
Polo internationals Hilario Ulloa and Facundo Pieres.

International polo stars are heading to Florida next month to raise funds for injured polo players.

The Nespresso 40-Goal Challenge will take place at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington on Saturday, February 13. This important event showcases the highest level of polo in the world, featuring eight international megastars who will donate their time and skills to play in this one-of-a-kind charity exhibition.

The Nespresso 40-Goal Challenge is a fundraiser for the Polo Players Support Group (PPSG), a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to dedicated horsemen and women whose lives once played out on the polo field but who now have to watch from the sidelines due to illness or injury. To date the PPSG has awarded more than $1.7 million to 59 seriously injured or ill players and grooms, including Tom Thayer, who was severely injured in a polo accident. His wife, Deb Thayer, believes that the assistance from PPSG was fundamental in her husband’s recovery.

“The Polo Players Support Group is awesome,” she said. “They offered immediate assistance at a time when we really needed it. It was such a relief because you have such stress. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Their support was unbelievable.”

The PPSG was formed after polo player Rob Walton suffered a serious injury.

“The 40-goal tournament means a lot to me,” said Walton, who has been in a wheelchair since he was seriously injured in 1995. “It makes the difference in being able to take care of myself or not. Without the PPSG’s help, I’d be in a lot of trouble. A guy never knows when he may get hurt.”

Polo has strict standards to keep the game safe for horses and riders, but the nature of the sport can cause serious injuries that leave players and grooms in financial need. The PPSG and the Nespresso 40-Goal Challenge enable donors to enjoy great polo while assisting those in need through tax-deductible contributions.

The Brights Creek “Future 10’s” in memory of Matthew Cohen starts at 3pm. The game starts at 3:15 p.m., followed by a dinner and auction.

2015's 40-Goal teams on the podium at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
2015’s 40-Goal teams on the podium at International Polo Club Palm Beach.

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