Retirement & Depression
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like taxes & death, is inevitable for the Rugby League
The one difference
between ‘taxes & death’ &
‘retirement’ is that you have control over the latter. You have the
ability to determine the extent to which it can affect your life & that of your loved ones. The effect on
others around you as a result of poor transition into retirement can be referred to as ‘collateral
If you want to lessen the impact retirement can have you must prepare early for the
inevitable. If not, you may experience a ‘let down’ that could culminate in possible
There is a direct
correlation between retirement & depressive illnesses. This is particularly apparent
in Rugby League & other sports and is very similar to that experienced by older
persons, there is can be the feeling of ‘lessened worth’; the feeling that they are no longer
productive or contribute to society in a worthwhile manner. They are forced to try to come to terms with the
reality of elder status & the ‘perceived’ societal ‘rejection’ of their
There is little
difference between their particular dilemma & that of the Rugby League player, though the League player has
certain specific issues that need to be acknowledged & addressed; and these relate to the nature of the
sport itself. To assume that retirement from Rugby League is the same as retirement from a 'white
collar' office job as a consequence of age is being rather naive and likely to allow for a greater
chance of depression developing. The same could, and has been said, regarding farmers & those from the land
or country areas. Their depression, while similar in symptoms, involved a very specific approach in regards to
establishing causative factors and the provision of practical assistance and genuine help and
While the symptoms
for 'Depression' are generally the same - universal; the causes &/or reasons for an
individual's depression vary considerably. As such, the treatment may also involve very specific
'practical' measures unique to the individual sufferer.
One must consider
the lifestyle of the league player; the social apsects of the sport and its 'culture'. The sheer
physicality of Rugby League, from training to playing, involves biochemical & neuro-physiological elements
that are seriously affected through sudden cessation, such as can occur in retirement. Other matters pertaining
to self esteem and identity may be intrinsically linked to participation in the sport. Financial &
occupational concerns may also occur. These changes can have serious effects on one's mood and most certainly
can result in depression.
The advantage for
the ‘younger’ ex-player is that they have a greater opportunity to adjust & adapt and continue to
contribute, though perhaps in not the manner in which they had before.
It is essential
that preparation for retirement occur well beforehand. In this way you lessen the impact on you and those around
you. It also enables you to preemptively plan should retirement be sudden or forced upon you for other reasons
such as a career ending injury. Refer to the section on ‘Loss & Grief’ for details about
this type of ‘forced retirement’ and the effect it can have.
the issue of future retirement you should look at specific areas of need:-
One of the most
effective methods of reducing the impact of retirement is that of slow withdrawal from the game. This means
maintaining a degree of involvement in the game, though not necessarily as an active
Coaching (particularly junior
Training & Conditioning
Playing in lower grades or other alternative
These are designed
to be primarily ‘part-time’, ‘casual’ or ‘voluntary’. It can be potentially damaging
if your plan to remain involved with the game in a ‘full time’ capacity is unfulfilled or does not come
to fruition. A key thought to maintain is to remember that the number of players retiring far exceeds the number
of ‘full-time’ positions or careers on offer.
click here for Retirement & Depression 'Fact Sheet'.
Should you have concerns regarding any issue
relating to your 'mental or physical
off' strongly recommend you seek professional assistance. This
may entail contacting your GP or similar clinician (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.). You may
also contact the appropriate agency or service that might assist you. Irrespective of your
choice, ensure you see someone who might help.
Even the world's richest man
retires. This may seem a 'light-hearted' look at retirement, though certain points are relevant and some
questions are raised; 'What do you do when you retire?'; 'Are your plans realistic?'; 'How do others perceive
your move into retirement?' and so on. If nothing else, however, it is quite amusing.
Please watch & enjoy.
Bill Gates - 'last day at