'Kick Off'
 'Tackling Mental Health for Rugby League'
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'Sports do not build character, they reveal it.'

 

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 Kick Off...Mental Health for Rugby League

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Target Groups & Areas


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Target groups   Target areas    Junior League    Secondary Schools    Indigenous Community    State League    Local Leagues    National Under 20s Comp    Rural & Remote areas   NRL Comp



 

·          Junior Rugby League Players(under 13 & up) 

 

·          Entry Players(younger contracted adolescent players) 

 

·          Current Players 

 

·          Exiting Players(those retiring from the game) & Retired Players

 

·          Injured/recuperating Players

 

·          Coaching & Conditioning Staff 

 

·          Referees

 



   




   *As a note; the service is NOT restricted to only these groups. It may be the spouses, partners, mothers, fathers, guardians, family members, friends etc.. who have concerns for an individual who may belong to these 'targeted' groups. They may also have issues and problems that they themsleves are experiencing; in part because of the 'secondary' or consequential relationship with those mentioned above.


 

 

Most conventional approaches to the issue of Depression or Mental Health are of a global nature and encompass all sufferers or potential sufferers. It has certainly highlighted the significance of the problems and has increased awareness amongst the general community; however the success of any program or service is best achieved by adopting a ‘Target Group’ specific approach.

 

Each group (whether it be a profession, gender, race etc.) has its’ own special qualities, characteristics and needs. This is not to say that Depression or Mental Health problems are different in their symptoms or type, it simply means that any assessment, identification, treatment & education is best served being designed and directed toward a particular group; in this case, Rugby League.

 


 

 

Target Areas


 

Target areas



 


 

 

Junior League

Every Player within the NRL, State Leagues & Local League competition has come through the Junior League divisions. The increase in drug & alcohol use & abuse within the age groups applicable to 'Junior League' has brought with it serious problems and issues for which there seems few answers. Combined with the 'normal' adolescent developmental processes that we all go through, the Junior League player & the league itself shoulod come in for specialized, target specific and intense focus. Priority should always be given to this area as many of the problems in later life can be traced back to experiences, events, incidents etc. of this time in a person's life. Youth suicide, self harming & risk taking behaviours are considerably worrying and the Junior League player is not immune from these simply because of his sporting prowess and 'superficial' confidence. It is important to remember that the brain continues to 'grow', mature & develop into an individual's early 20's. As such, biochemical & hormonal factors relating to maturation have a marked effect on the successful transition through this period of life.





 

 

Secondary Schools

Whilst this area is not specific for Rugby League, it is a large component of the social world of the adolescent player. All adolescents require attention regarding the potential pitfalls associated with life as a teenager. Issues such as 'self-esteem', 'identity', 'sexuality', 'sexual intimacy' & 'relationships', 'gender identity', 'drugs & alcohol' are highly significant to this age group. The adolescent Rugby League player is no different from anyone of this demographic and perhaps, in some ways, has more issues of concern; being more vulnerable & 'at risk'. The prevalence of adolescent 'Depression' & 'Mental Illness' is high in this age group and educational setting. Far more disturbing is the incidence of 'Self Harming' behaviour, 'Parasuicide' & 'Suicide'.





 

 

Local Leagues

Again, these are clubs that have been somewhat forgotten. All NRL players and future players have generally come from these 'breeding grounds'. In a developmental sense, this is akin to preparing a child for life, as any parent does. If a child is soundly equiped with the necessary skills to manage adult life, then many serious problems will, or can, be averted. There is no difference between human beings' developmental processes and life preparation and that of the Rugby League player's preparation for their future career.





 

 

Rural & Remote

Those of 'Rural & Remote' origin are potentially disadvantaged in a range of areas. Health & education are but two (2) of the many problems that are faced by those 'in the bush'; this is a fact generally accepted by most, including those in government. Most rise above these disadvantages & potential obstacles, some don't. Rugby League is another area for which potential disadvantage is apparent. Added to this is the uniqueness of the rural lifestyle and the culture shock for many of these individuals when their football career advancement takes them to a metropolitan area as a natural progression. The game has certainly allowed for greater opportunity for development, involvement & participation, though this tends to be more focused on skill developmentetc. Psychological and social preparation is not necesssarily a priority.





 

 

Indigenous Community

Problems associated with the indigenous community are well documented and targeted by Government at all levels. Most of the strategies, programs and so on, are well covered by these bodies and are designed to meet the unique needs for those of indigenous areas. Rugby League provides a raft of wonderful opportunities for the individual, but it should not be forgotted that they are also indigenous and the issues specific & pertinent to them remain. These can create issues & problems in later life and potentially the non-fulfillment of innate talent & ability. "Kick Off' aims to combine the needs of the individual, the cultural needs of the indigenous player and the needs of the code, by focusing on this very important area.





 

 

State Leagues

Many of our NRL players, ex-players, future players & 'fringe' players come from these leagues. It is necessary to focus on those players in these clubs to prepare them for the next step in their life (professionally & personally); 'Proactive & Preemptive'. Similarly, there are unique problems associated with players of this, largely semi-professional league, particularly those who 'haven't made it' and those who, for various reasons, have been forced to play at this level, after having tasted the NRL experience.





 

 

National 'Under 20s' Competition

Due to the 'close' connection between the NRL Clubs & the 'Under 20s' Competition, serious attention is necessary for this particular group. The combination of being 'understudies' and the 'future' NRL players; along with their age puts them at serious potential 'risk' for a number of reasons. They are continuing to develop and grow physically (including the brain's development); psychologically & socially. The effect of increased profile & exposure to the lifestyle of more senior players and the world of NRL football increases 'risk factors' in relation to behaviour, drugs, alcohol & mood disorders.  





 

 

National Rugby League

Aberrant behaviour, drug & alcohol use & abuse, mental health issues etc. continue to 'dog' the professional footballer & the code. Conventional approaches, including drug testing, penalties & disciplinary measures, have hitherto proved limited in success. As a consquence of this partial success, the media's focus remains on some of the 'negative' aspects within the game. Personal problems & issues of concern apply to everyone, including the professional Rugby League player. There are significant impediments to the individual player, coach, trainer, administrator, referee etc. seeking assistance before it is manifested in a manner that gives rise to media coverage - "for all the wrong reasons". 'Kick Off' aims to pre-emptively and proactively address these areas before they become a serious problem for all concerned.



 

 

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©2008 Waldel Pty Ltd

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"Kick Off' is a 'world first' program & service dedicated specifically to a sport....in this instance; the great game of Rugby League.

    

 

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