The NRL is very aware of the responsibility
it takes on for the health and wellbeing of
all its players and this goes for every facet
of their lives. It can be a challenging experience to leave home at a young age, or simply to face the responsibilities of playing the sport you love at a high level.
Success can bring its own difficulties and opportunities and failure is both a real possibility and something many people find hard to deal with. We do not leave our players, at whatever their stage in the game, to handle the very real stresses and strains of elite competition on their own.
Every club has at least one Welfare and Education Manager whose job it is to look after the wellbeing of the players in their charge. Each manager is required to have a Mental First Aid Certificate as a minimum qualification combined with several years experience in working with talented young athletes.
Psychological and Emotional Wellbeing
The NRL offers an Employee Assistance Program service through Davidson Trahaire Corpsych. It is a free, confidential and highly credentialed counselling service available to all players, staff and their families from all National Youth Competition, State League and NRL teams.
Culturally specific counsellors are also available when needed, free of charge.
The NRL works with mental health organisations such as Black Dog Institute for not only specialist referrals but also guidance in developing related education and programs.
And, given the time pressures of combining professional sport with study and/or work, the collective bargaining agreement between the clubs and the Rugby League Players Association and NRL staff mandates one day off a week for personal development, leisure and family time.
From the moment you play one NRL game, you become part of a lifelong support network. We support you both as a young player and as a professional, but being an
elite athlete is always a relatively short career. For every player there comes the time to leave the playing field. This transition often brings with it a new set of challenges. The NRL continues to maintain a relationship with past players throughout their life and runs programs to support them.
The program coordinated by the Men of League offers counselling support, financial assistance particularly for further education and qualifications and ongoing lifelong career coaching.
Men of League
All NRL players are encouraged to stay connected with
the broader Rugby League family after retirement – at whatever age – by being active in the Men of League Foundation or, if they are not members, by joining (menofleague.com). This national organisation is there to support ex-players through the retirement period from the game and beyond. It encourages continued contact with old team mates and many retired players go on to play an important part in the great work done by the Foundation.
By being committed to the ongoing wellbeing and engagement of NRL players, the Men of League continue to support and build on the good foundational work players received as rookies and professionals through the NRL Welfare and Education programs.
Once you are part of the NRL, you will never walk alone.