Around 45% of players will require treatment for an injury sustained during their career after they have finished playing, according to a survey commissioned by League13.
The survey examined the lives of former professionals, asking them about their playing career, their transition to a second career and how they felt about that career.
League13 received replies from 140 former players out of 800 surveyed, and an identical survey was also conducted by their Professional Players’ Federation counterparts in cricket, rugby union and football.
It found that comparatively, few rugby league players are seeking advice on their future careers, and that almost everybody leaves rugby league needing to work.
League13 chief executive Ernie Benbow said: “Each year the government conducts a national survey of well-being. We measured the well-being of current and past players to compare them against the national result. Surprisingly recently retired rugby league players score lower than the UK population and older past players.
“We will be taking up these issues with the RFL in our regular scheduled meetings with the aim of refining and improving existing arrangements for players in seeking to prepare for their life after rugby league. We will also seek to work with other agencies both within and outside the sport to improve existing arrangements for all.”
The key conclusions drawn from the survey are:
1. Cultivate a culture which reinforces the need for players to plan properly for life after sport
2. We need to continue to build better support networks to help prepare players for life after sport
3. Understand the importance to players of their sporting careers and encourage them to focus on their achievements, not their failures
4. Recognise the more challenging transition for players whose careers are prematurely ended
5. Support players after retirement especially in the key transition phase 1-2 years after playing careers end