Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow has announced that he has recently been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).
Burrow, 37, retired from playing at the end of the 2017 season, his final game seeing him winning his eighth Super League Grand Final. He is the club’s Reserve team Head Coach having led the Rhinos Academy team for the past two seasons.
The father of three played his entire career at Leeds Rhinos, making 492 appearances for the club following his debut in 2001, placing him in fifth in the club’s all-time list of career appearances. He scored 196 tries for a total of 1,103 points. He was capped 15 times by England and played five more tests for Great Britain including a Man of the Series performance in 2007 for the national side. He is a two-time winner of the Harry Sunderland Award as Man of the Match in the 2007 and 2011 Grand Final. He won the Challenge Cup in 2014 and 2015 as well as three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders Shields.
Commenting on the announcement, Burrow said, “Regrettably, today I am confirming that I have been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I would like to thank everyone for the support I have received already since being given my diagnosis. I know I have a big challenge in front of me but knowing that I have the love and support of so many people will give me inspiration and strength. I am very positive about the situation and intend to battle the condition as I still feel fit and well.
“I would like to ask for privacy at this time so I can adjust to the battle I have ahead and so that I can spend time with those closest to me ahead of Christmas and New Year.”
Leeds Rhinos Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield commented on his friend, saying, “This has been devastating news and heart breaking for Rob and his young family. The thoughts of everyone at Leeds Rhinos and, I am sure, throughout the Rugby League family is with Rob and his wife Lindsey. Throughout his career, Rob overcame the odds to become a legend of the game and I know he will tackle this challenge with the exact same positive determination.
“As a club, Rob will receive our full support and we will be working with him to chart the way forward. I would like to thank Doddie Weir for taking time out recently to meet with Rob and talk about his own personal experiences with MND. The news has been a massive shock and I know it will be similar for his many former team mates, friends and fans in the game. We will be developing ways we can best support Rob and his family in the future over the next few weeks and will be hoping to announce plans as soon as possible in the New Year. In the meantime, I would ask you all to keep Rob and his family in your thoughts over the Festive period,” added Sinfield.
For more information about Motor Neurone Disease (MND) please visit the MND Association’s Website by clicking here.
The club have announced that they will set up a fund to support Rob in his treatment and his family in the New Year.
You can also donate any fee to a special Virgin Money Giving page that Leeds have set up with all the donations going to the fund. www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/robburrow.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s testimonial game against Bradford Bulls on Sunday 12th January 2020, kick off 3pm, will now be a joint fundraiser for Jamie and Rob.