On Friday evening at 5pm on Sky Sports Arena, the hour-long documentary will shine the light on a team of former Rugby League stars open up about their battles with mental health, and discuss their mission to educate aspiring young players on the importance of this issue.
For over a decade, the rugby league has been a pioneer sport in opening conversations about mental health. Now some of the biggest names in the game are trying to keep the next generation from suffering from the same issues they did.
Presented in partnership with the 2021 Rugby Union World Cup and Movember UK, the ‘Ahead of the Game’ film from RAM Films UK sees 15 players from the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions interact in the community with players and coaches to show that some things are far more important than the final score of a match.
Among them, Kevin Laroyer, the former French international struggling with mental health problems since childhood, having been placed in low-cost housing at the age of six after suffering abuse from his mother.
His story, along with those of several other former Super League players, is told in the ‘Ahead of the game’ documentary available via Sky On Demand, and the 32-year-old explained how those struggles growing up in Toulouse affected him.
“I felt abandoned because I had lots of questions like ‘why am I being taken and my sister can stay with mum and dad?’” Said Larroyer.
“There were 12 of us on bunk beds and no bedtime fuss and at night it was when I was crying. I started playing rugby and it was my happy place.
“Rugby has always been my way out, so I put all my heart into rugby and it’s a place where I feel valued.”
If you are affected by or would like to talk about any mental wellness issues, please contact the Samaritans on the toll-free 116 123 helpline, or visit their website- Samaritans.
For more information about Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s men’s mental wellbeing programme Offload, delivered in partnership with Rugby League Cares, please click HERE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Ahead of the Game”, the story of a team of former rugby league professionals opening up about their battles against mental health and their mission to educate the next generation on the importance of the issue, is also available through Sky On Demand.