Rob Burrow’s emotional first television interview since being diagnosed with MND

Leeds legend Rob Burrow has done an incredibly emotional interview following his diagnoses of motor neurone disease.

The 37-year-old retired from playing at the end of the 2017 season, his final game seeing him winning his eighth Super League Grand Final, and recently announced he has been diagnosed with motor neuron disease.

In an emotional interview with BBC’s Tanya Arnold, he opened up about diagnosis and when he first knew something wasn’t right.

Burrow told BBC Look North: “Probably a few months back, my family were telling me I’m slurring my speech a bit.

“I’ve always been a little bit short tongued, so I never really took notice or believed them, then at the point I was seeing the doctor for my shoulder about an old injury, I told him about my speech and from then it was really quick.

“In three weeks I had tests and saw a neurologist and had an MRI in just under three weeks I got the results and I was diagnosed.

“When I went to see the specialist, we were expecting to be told I had something which could be treated and move on and get on with your life, so when I went in the room and he told me I had it, it was a bit of a shock.

“Maybe it’s the athlete in us all where you don’t want to just lie down and just take it. I’m taking it as a challenge and I don’t intend to lie down. I want to get stuck into it, a bit like my career you know.

“It was a really numb moment and a week further on I’m in a decent place. I’m fine considering the circumstance, apart from my voice and a few bits and bobs. Other than that, I feel normal and good to go.” 

Burrow, father of three, made a total of 493 appearances for Leeds following his debut in 2001, placing him in fifth in the club’s all-time list of career appearances.

He was also capped 15 times by England, and since his retirement has been involved in the Rugby League All Stars charity fixtures.

Over £65,000 has already been raised for the player via virgin money giving, and players and the rugby league community have come together to help raise funds, including England international Sam Tomkins, whose shirt from the World Cup 9s is currently up to £1,000 in an online auction.

“The hard bit is you don’t know why you’ve got it,” he added.

“There’s nothing you can do. Basically they can’t give you much information on your life expectancy. Stephen Hawking lived 55 years with it, so everyone is different.

“I think thats the fact you can’t have a definite, we can do this this and this is very vague. I’m really positive and intend to be throughout the journey.”

When asked about his wife and young family, he added: “That’s the emotional side.

“I suppose you have your good days and your bad days, but I feel it’s just one of them things.

“I’m unlucky and it just happens. I have tonnes of family support, my club and in particular Kev [Kevin Sinfield].

“When people want to help you and you cant repay them, it’s very humbling, overwhelming and I’m forever grateful. I can’t thank them enough.”

To donate, click HERE.

For more information about Motor Neurone Disease (MND) please visit the MND Association’s Website by clicking here.

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