Henry using experience to help State of Mind
Over the past three Telstra Premiership seasons Ben Henry has become an unwilling veteran of season-disrupting injuries.
In each of his last three campaigns the 23-year-old Warrior has missed time with knee injuries, two of which were season-ending ACL tears.
The long days in rehab and reality of his situation have often taken an emotional toll on Henry, who also battled with injuries through his time in the Holden Cup.
Those experiences were the main reason he decided this year to become one of the NRL's 14 State of Mind Ambassadors, who aim to make a difference in the area of mental health.
"I think it's a great campaign and it's opened some good doors for me," Henry told NRL.com.
"I talk to some of the younger guys, especially the Holden Cup, who have had some serious injuries.
"One of them, Toafofoa Sipley, has been through a real bad knee injury recently, I think he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL, so I've just been talking to him and trying to guide him.
"It helps them and it also helps me to know I'm not doing it by myself.
"It is tough to see the bright side when you get bad injuries, you like playing footy, it's fun and then you can't do it.
"For younger players it can be tough, but you just have to think about the things you can control.
"I have enjoyed being an ambassador, it gives me opportunities to talk to younger and older players about mental issues; I am always open to that."
Almost three months on from his latest torn ACL, suffered in the Round 4 clash against the Broncos, Henry says he's through the initial gloom and is progressing in his rehab.
"Things are coming along pretty well and right now I am ahead of schedule," he said.
"But that doesn't mean anything at the moment because when I start running I could be put back a couple of weeks and stuff like that.
"It's harder and easier actually [the second ACL recovery period], I sort of look at it now and think that I have been there and done that, all the rehab and stuff, if I have done it once I can do it again.
"But mentally I think it is tougher because you do all this work to get your leg back and then you get unlucky and snap the tendon again.
"That goes through your mind. It's always in the back of your mind, 'Is it going to go again?'"
Meanwhile the Warriors started their week with a visit to Auckland's Middlemore Hospital, where Manu Vatuvei, Glen Fisiiahi, Albert Vete and Henry spent time with young patients at a 'Jammies in June' pyjama party.
Saturday night's game against the Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium has also been given a #OnesieParty theme in support of Jammies in June, a campaign which aims to reduce high rates of preventable illnesses by providing children in need with pyjamas.
Veteran wing Vatuvei said it was a relatable cause for many Warriors.
"It's something close to me with having kids of my own, you just want the best for every other kid," Vatuvei said.
"For us to come here today and put smiles on some of these kids' faces is a blessing."