7 Truths of a Professional Athlete

September 11, 2021


7 Truths of a Professional Rugby Athlete

1. You're an injury away from losing your job

2. Your performance is scrutinised daily

3. You are only borrowing the jersey

4. You will not be selected if you don’t perform

5. You will either experience a concussion, being punched, smashed and rucked over more than once

6. Some coaches will like you, some won’t so get over it

7. Rugby careers, on average, are 2-3 years. It would be best if you plan on your next 60 years

Rugby union is a short career (2-3 years average). Sports and careers are changing as the impact of COVID-19 disrupted people's lives and the effect on mental health and those affected through job losses.

No one understands what you are going through mentally and the sweat, blood and tears of you giving your all for the company that let you go.

Recent studies have shown that many retiring rugby athletes, notably Pacific Island players, don’t have anything to fall back on. Recent statistics highlight that closes to 40% of Professional Rugby players worldwide is from the Pacific Islands. From Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Wallis Futuna and the Cook Islands. 

Research by NZRPA has shown that the impact of retirement is different for all players. We have to think about it, ask for help and seek a career advisor, a trusted person to help you in the next steps of your career. For many athletes finding time for professional development is a balancing act. There is an opportunity and a system to provide for many players, especially the men's game. The women's game is an ongoing struggle, with many women balancing motherhood, family, work and fitting in rugby training. 

These truths are my experiences and insights into the sports world. I offer insights into my experiences and career and how I successfully transition. What we need is providing hope in a vastly changing world especially with after sports.

With the impact of Social media, there is so much to see, hear and post. It is also a way to communicate with long lost friends, families and colleagues. Meet people face to face and prepare a list of questions and write them down. Be proactive and seek out help from your trusted friends, your family and people whom you trust. Be wary of those who try and convince you to sign deals. Find people who have the best interests for you and you're family. 

With the new waves of the pandemic, the lockdowns continue in 2021 across the globe. In New Zealand, we are not yet there and getting through this will take everyone responsible for their health and families.

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