Cas­tle opens up on Alope­cia

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Rugby Aus­tralia boss Rae­lene Cas­tle has opened up about her bat­tle with alope­cia and the con­fu­sion her ap­pear­ance can cause.

Cas­tle was first di­ag­nosed with Alope­cia Areata, an au­toim­mune dis­ease that causes hair to fall out, at the age of 34 when she no­ticed her hair was thin­ning.

She has used hair ex­ten­sions, wigs and ban­dan­nas to com­pen­sate over the years.

‘‘It’s got noth­ing to do with stress and I don’t have can­cer,’’ Cas­tle, 47, told ESPN.

‘‘My brother suf­fers from it as well – he has not a sin­gle hair on his en­tire body; no eye­lashes, no eye­brows at the mo­ment.

‘‘For me, I go through cy­cles where my hair falls out but then grows back again. So while I’m in a pe­riod of my hair fall­ing out, I have to wear a hat or a ban­danna, or what­ever you want to call it. I’m not chan­nelling Peter Fitzsim­mons,’’ she added of the for­mer Aus­tralian rugby player turned jour­nal­ist who fre­quently wears a ban­danna on his bald head.

Austal­ian-born but New Zealand-raised, Cas­tle has made her mark across the Tas­man as a pi­o­neer­ing fe­male ad­min­is­tra­tor in tra­di­tional male sport­ing do­mains – as CEO of the Can­ter­bury Bull­dogs in the NRL and now at rugby HQ in Sydney.

She felt women were judged dif­fer­ently for their cloth­ing and ap­pear­ance.

‘‘Peo­ple can be re­ally cruel. At the end of the day I un­der­stand the is­sue, but peo­ple judg­ing you for your ap­pear­ance, say­ing ‘what are you, a pi­rate or a Mus­lim’ and those sorts of com­ments when they are un­e­d­u­cated to the is­sue that I face, is just one of those things,’’ Cas­tle said.

Cas­tle, a for­mer CEO of Net­ball New Zealand, first spoke about her hair con­di­tion in 2014 after tak­ing on the Bull­dogs job.

She hoped re­vis­it­ing the sub­ject would help other busi­ness women with sim­i­lar con­di­tions.

‘‘When I talked about it orig­i­nally, I was con­cerned about three things: one, I didn’t want peo­ple to think I had can­cer. Sec­ondly, it’s not stress re­lated – sure I could be health­ier and do more ex­er­cise, but fun­da­men­tally that doesn’t make any dif­fer­ence – it’s just an au­toim­mune is­sue that my body has. Thirdly, I want to share my ex­pe­ri­ences with some young fe­males in the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment who are strug­gling with Alope­cia.’’ Phil Mick­el­son has apol­o­gised four days after in­ten­tion­ally vi­o­lat­ing golf rules by hit­ting a mov­ing ball on the green at the US Open, say­ing his frus­tra­tion got the best of him.

The apol­ogy came yes­ter­day in a state­ment.

‘‘I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down,’’ Mick­el­son said.

‘‘My anger and frus­tra­tion got the best of me last week­end. I’m em­bar­rassed and dis­ap­pointed by my ac­tions. It was clearly not my finest mo­ment and I’m sorry.’’

Mick­el­son was strug­gling in the third round when he reached the 13th green.

His bo­gey putt from above the hole ran by the cup and was headed down a slope when he trot­ted over and swat­ted it back to­ward the hole with the ball still in mo­tion. He was as­sessed a twostroke penalty, scored a 10 on the hole and wound up shoot­ing 81.

Later, after ac­knowl­edg­ing he was us­ing Rule 14-5 to his ad­van­tage, Mick­el­son called USGA of­fi­cials for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the rule after hear­ing sugges­tions he should be dis­qual­i­fied from the US Open. USGA of­fi­cials said dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion was not in or­der for his vi­o­la­tion.

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