Professional rugby players have scrummed together to ‘tackle’ mental health in a new project to coincide with Movember UK.
The Rugby League Cares charity has joined forces with the 2021 Rugby League World Cup to launch the ‘Ahead of the Game’ programme which invites 15 players from the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions have open conversations with players and coaches.
One person who has signed up to the initiative is former France international Kevin Larroyer, the player has suffered from mental health since childhood after he was placed into care to protect him from his abusive mother from the age of six.
In the Ahead of the Game documentary the 32-year-old relived how mental health has affected his life.
"I felt abandoned because I had loads of questions like 'why am I being taken away and my sister can stay with mum and dad?'" Larroyer expalined.
"There were 12 of us on bunk beds and no bedtime stories and at nights was the time I was crying. I started playing rugby and that was my happy place.
"Rugby has always been my exit door, so I put my heart into rugby and it's a place I feel valued."
But Larroyer has also been through emotional battles on the pitch, in 2016 he had his three-year contract at Hull Kingston Rovers taken away from him after suffering a long-term injury.
Moving to Castleford Tigers should had given him a new lease of life, but after signing to the new club Larroyer heard his sister had taken her own life.
"My sister has been a big factor, but it is also when I have been in a hole, people had been reaching out to me," Larroyer said. "Now I'm feeling a lot better, I feel like it is my duty to give back.
"Now, being a dad, I don't want my son to experience one per cent of what I felt as a child, but I don't want any child to experience feelings of being unloved, useless, and not acknowledged, and I want those kids to build up their self-belief.
"If you know your quality and how good you are, when you have a setback you think 'I can do it'."
Ahead of the Game is available on Sky On Demand.
- Comments: Be the first to comment