What the NRL is do­ing to help

Rugby League Week - - News - JOE MCDONOUGH

Former NRL star Ben Ross says it’s “alarm­ing” how many former play­ers are reach­ing out for support as they bat­tle the black dog.

In his role as wel­fare manager at Men of League, Ross sees first­hand just how many sports­men are plagued by men­tal health is­sues once their ca­reers end.

“I think you would be [sur­prised by how many peo­ple we talk to],” he tells RLW.

“I pre­pared my­self for life af­ter footy, a lot of boys do, but once you leave that bub­ble it’s very hard. We’ve al­ways been stereo­typed as these rough-and-tough rugby league play­ers who don’t get fazed by any­thing, but in re­al­ity a lot of play­ers are suf­fer­ing and the first step is speak­ing out about it.”

Of course to­day’s play­ers aren’t im­mune from de­pres­sion ei­ther, so it’s en­cour­ag­ing to hear that the game’s gov­ern­ing body is mak­ing im­por­tant strides at club level.

“There are a lot of cur­rent play­ers strug­gling as well,” Ross con­tin­ues. “The NRL is re­ally on top of the new ini­tia­tives around men­tal health and em­ploy­ing two well-be­ing of­fi­cers at ev­ery club is a great step.”

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