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Stevie Ward: Former Leeds Rhinos captain explores results of dwelling with concussion in new documentary | Rugby League Information

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Former Leeds captain Stevie Ward explores the bodily and psychological battles he has endured since struggling a career-ending head harm

Former Leeds captain Stevie Ward explores the bodily and psychological battles he has endured since struggling a career-ending head harm

In early February 2020, Stevie Ward seemingly had the world of rugby league at his toes.

Aged 26 and approaching what ought to have been the height years of his profession, he was already a three-time Tremendous League champion and two-time Problem Cup winner, on the verge of England recognition and captain of boyhood membership Leeds Rhinos.

However little may the second row ahead have imagined, when he led the Rhinos out for the primary sport of the 2020 Tremendous League season at dwelling to Hull FC on February 2, it will be the final time he set foot on a rugby league pitch.

“I took an enormous bang to the pinnacle within the first half and got here off with concussion,” Ward recalled. “The weeks and months that adopted that sport had been the toughest in my life.”

Ward's family reflect on the impact that concussion has had on his life outside of rugby league

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Ward’s household mirror on the influence that concussion has had on his life exterior of rugby league

Ward’s household mirror on the influence that concussion has had on his life exterior of rugby league

It was the second concussion Ward had suffered in two weeks, having been pressured off with a head harm in a pre-season match too. The accidents would finally result in him deciding to announce his retirement from the game he had devoted his life to in January of this yr.

Concussion has confirmed life-changing for Ward past merely giving up his enjoying profession. Even now, 20 months on, he suffers with debilitating bodily signs equivalent to migraines, dizziness, nausea, and sensitivity to mild and noise.

These ongoing struggles are amongst these explored within the documentary Stevie Ward – Dwelling With Concussion – which will likely be broadcast on Sky Sports activities Foremost Occasion and Combine at 5.30pm on Wednesday, and out there through Sky On Demand from 7am – in addition to the psychological well being points he has needed to face.

I am now retired, however I am dealing with a battle simply to dwell a traditional day-to-day life.

Stevie Ward

Certainly, because the Covid-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc the world over final March and throwing up challenges for everybody, the previous England Academy worldwide was battling melancholy, nervousness and suicidal ideas on account of his harm too.

“I used to be so low I did not know if I even needed to be right here,” Ward mentioned. “Loads of the world did not know what to do on this time of the pandemic and I did not know what to do with my mind.

“I am now retired, however I am dealing with a battle simply to dwell a traditional day-to-day life.”

It isn’t simply Ward who has been affected by this. His dad and mom, Colin and Anne, who had been on vacation on the time he suffered what proved to be a career-ending harm, observed the modifications of their son.

The post-concussion signs Ward suffers have utterly modified the dynamic of his relationship along with his accomplice Natalie too, who defined how helpless they each felt.

“Within the early levels, Stevie’s emotional state was actually unstable and on the time we did not realise that was a standard symptom for concussion and mind harm,” Natalie mentioned.

“Loads of issues had been taking place; his reminiscence was getting worse, his functionality to make selections, his temper was so low, and he was disinterested in every little thing in life.

Ward's partner discusses the difficulties he now faces as a result of his brain injury

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Ward’s accomplice discusses the difficulties he now faces on account of his mind harm

Ward’s accomplice discusses the difficulties he now faces on account of his mind harm

“We had been being bombarded with these signs and we did not know what to do.”

Ward has since been present process self-funded remedy with specialists in Harrogate and London, and that remedy and the workouts he does have helped alleviate the signs to some extent.

Specializing in his psychological well being and wellbeing challenge Mantality, which he began when he was dominated out with an ACL harm in 2016, has helped fight these signs too, however there are nonetheless points from what, to many individuals, can seem to be an invisible harm.

The former Leeds Rhinos captain describes the daily struggles he experiences during a trip back to Headingley

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The previous Leeds Rhinos captain describes the every day struggles he experiences throughout a visit again to Headingley

The previous Leeds Rhinos captain describes the every day struggles he experiences throughout a visit again to Headingley

“I believe lots of people battle to get their head round it,” Ward mentioned. “I believe individuals suppose ‘he seems all proper’.

“I am combating a battle; my model of a battle isn’t enjoying any extra or throwing myself into tackles or doing 50 tackles once more. It is going out attempting to construct Mantality, and assist people who find themselves struggling. I really feel like I wish to do this and smash it, however I am even held again doing that.

“I am at a spot of acceptance. I’ve most likely discovered the finally resilience and it is most likely counter-intuitive as a result of we push all life to realize, obtain, obtain, to get larger, to get sooner and stronger.

“However, in actuality, I’ve needed to give up to the place I am at. I’ve needed to cease and permit myself to be comfortable regardless of what’s taking place in my mind.”

Ward opens up about his plans for the future after retiring from rugby league at the age of 27

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Ward opens up about his plans for the long run after retiring from rugby league on the age of 27

Ward opens up about his plans for the long run after retiring from rugby league on the age of 27

The extent to which Ward continues to endure with signs was underlined when he returned to Headingley in August to observe Leeds face Huddersfield Giants.

It was his first sport as a spectator since struggling the harm, however he needed to go away in the course of the first half because of signs flaring up.

Regardless of what occurred, he stays obsessed with rugby league and holds no malice in direction of the game, as an alternative wanting to make sure that reforms are made to make sure no different gamers should undergo what he has.

We have to discover a stability the place we are able to nonetheless have the perfect bits of rugby league however not having a spot the place persons are struggling with their long-term well being.

Stevie Ward

“I converse to gamers who’re enjoying now who are suffering they usually do not speak about it as a result of they’re continually caught in a cycle of proving their toughness and masculinity,” Ward mentioned.

“Going by it initially I felt so alone…however I do know gamers are battling it. It is how we tackle the issue now. We have to decrease contact.

“We all know ingesting and smoking are unhealthy for us so we do not do it on a regular basis, so we have to discover a stability the place we are able to nonetheless have the perfect bits of rugby league however not having a spot the place persons are struggling with their long-term well being.”

RFL: Security and welfare of all gamers taken ‘extraordinarily significantly’

Rugby league’s governing physique within the UK, the RFL, issued the next assertion in response to the experiences laid naked by Ward within the documentary.

“The RFL has been very saddened to listen to about Stevie’s difficulties,” the assertion learn.

“The RFL has at all times taken and continues to take the security and welfare of all gamers extraordinarily significantly. Rugby League is a contact sport and there is a component of threat to enjoying any sport.

“On account of the persevering with developments in scientific and medical information regarding these dangers, the game of Rugby League continues to enhance and develop its strategy to concussion, head harm evaluation, schooling, administration and prevention throughout the entire sport.

“We are going to proceed to make use of medical proof and analysis to strengthen, enhance and improve our strategy as now we have at all times carried out.”

Sky provides help for our viewers on a broad vary of matters, together with emotions of misery and despair. Find out more here.

Samaritans provide confidential, non-judgemental emotional help, 24 hours a day for people who find themselves experiencing emotions of misery, despair or suicide. Name 116 123, e-mail jo@samaritans.org or go to samaritans.org for extra info.





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