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 'Tackling Mental Health for Rugby League'
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 Kick Off...Mental Health for Rugby League

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Injury & Depression

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Injury does not necessarily have to entail permanent disabling or career ending ailments/injuries. It can apply to injury where time on the sideline impacts on your mental health, even if it is relatively brief.     


The first aspect to this ‘break from the game’ relates to chemical changes in the brain. The     Rugby League player, as with many other sportspersons, experiences a higher level of chemical activity when playing & training. You may not notice the ‘buzz’ or ‘lift’ associated due to the regularity of training & playing and having become accustomed to it. What you will most probably notice is the ‘drop’ & ‘let down’ associated with cessation. 


Lower chemical (neurotransmitter) activity & a ‘slowing’ of transmission within the neuronal (nerve) pathways of the brain are indicative of depressive disorders. Combine this with the frustration & anxiety of not being able to play or train & you have the ingredients for ‘Depression’. 


The types of emotions experienced at this time tend to have more far reaching effects than would normally be expected. Your wife/partner, children, family & those close to you often bear the brunt of your condition. 


It is not simply a matter of being ‘bored’. The following is a list of thoughts, feelings and issues that relate to ‘time on the sideline’. 



  • Loss of physical conditioning   


·   Loss or lessening of social interactions & activities (related to involvement in training, club events & activities, game participation etc) 


  • Financial distress   


  • Questioning whether you may return to the same standard of performance   


  • Potential loss of position   


  • Contract worth to club   


  • Pain & discomfort   


  • Lack of mobility & inability to perform tasks, duties etc. at the same level   


  • Question marks over future – with the game, career, employment etc.   


  • Lack of independence   



These are just examples of what you might experience whilst injured and out of the game. There are others and all are dependant on variables such as the extent of your injury, your support system, your family & friends’ understanding of your condition, your club’s attitude, insurance, financial status, level of participation, contract details etc.. 


You may never experience any problems whilst injured and most probably will not develop a depressive illness as a result. It is, however, possible; and as such, you need to be aware of what could happen and the fact that it is not uncommon. 


Many of the depressive symptoms may disappear once you’ve returned to the paddock & resumed training & playing. Some may not. Similarly, it is important to realize that damage can occur in the period of time you have experienced these depressive symptoms. Frustration, anger, negativity etc. can create issues with others that may remain unresolved. In essence; your depressive symptoms during a ‘break from the game’ may initiate situations that in themselves are ingredients to the development of depressive symptoms. 





 Please click here for Injury & Depression 'Fact Sheet'.


Should you have concerns regarding any issue relating to your 'mental or physical well-being', 'Kick off' strongly recommend you seek professional assistance. This may entail contacting your GP or similar clinician (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.). You may also contact the appropriate agency or service that might assist you. Irrespective of your choice, ensure you see someone who might help. 

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Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FICPP
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ADC Psychological Services, PLLC
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