NRL star Greg Inglis reveals how his mental health battle is helping others

KeepHealthCare.ORG – NRL star Greg Inglis reveals how his mental health battle is helping others

Last updated 07:56, February 13 2018

Mark Metcalfe

Greg Inglis laughs during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL training session at Redfern Oval. He is on the comeback trail after a knee injury and a bout of depression last season.

Whether Greg Inglis makes his long-awaited comeback from a knee reconstruction in round one remains unclear but listen to those around him and there is little doubt that, when he does resume for South Sydney, he can quickly get back to his devastating best.

“He found himself in open space [at training] a couple of weeks ago and it was almost like watching some of his highlights,” said Sam Burgess, the talisman of South Sydney’s forward pack, on Monday. 

“He just went through, one-handed carry, showed up the fullback … and went and scored the try. I just thought ‘welcome back, Greg’.”

A reinvigorated Greg Inglis is looking forward to the start of the NRL season with the Rabbitohs.

Mark Metcalfe

A reinvigorated Greg Inglis is looking forward to the start of the NRL season with the Rabbitohs.

If that is music to the ears of Rabbitohs supporters, who these days are not exactly long suffering but impatient for a return to the semi-finals, then so should be the 31-year-old superstar’s state of mind.

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 Inglis had a smile on his face on Monday as he sat in the grandstand at Redfern Oval and contemplated the approaching NRL season, which Souths will continue to prepare for with a trial against Wigan at ANZ Stadium on Saturday. Last year that wasn’t always the case.

The anterior cruciate ligament injury that forced him to miss almost the entire 2017 campaign was one thing but there was also a mental health battle that led him to enter a rehabilitation facility.  

“I’m like a little kid out there,” said Inglis, who completed his first full week of training under new coach Anthony Seibold last week. “Putting the boots on, getting strapped. Just running around with the boys, having a good laugh.”

The months of recovery from surgery have given Inglis the opportunity to reflect on his decision to confront his mental demons, which he continues to do, and go public about it. After being blown away by the feedback from everyone, he has realised just how much influence he has – even when he isn’t showing up an opposition defence.

“Obviously going through what I went through … I’m getting people coming up to me saying ‘thank-you’,” he said. 

“I did this to help myself, I didn’t think that I would touch that many people’s lives or families and help them in a way. I just learnt how much power that I can actually have by voicing my opinion. I didn’t actually realise that until I went through it.

“Last year I obviously had my battles with mental depression and I’m obviously still keeping on top of that. I have people I can have a chat to when I’m feeling a bit down. You’ve got to continue the therapy. You’re never out of it, even though you think you’re fine. I think you’ve still got to continue it and that’s what I’m doing.”

What he is also doing – on the training paddock – is continuing to weigh up where he is best suited in the Souths backline.

There has been no concrete decision on whether Inglis will make a full-time positional switch but he is set to at least begin the season at left centre, with Alex Johnston at fullback. 

Alongside him in the centres is likely to be Dane Gagai, a new recruit so enthusiastic about joining Souths that, according to Burgess, he turned up for pre-season training a week early to find no one there.

“He walked in and walked straight back out,” Burgess said. “That’s how keen he is.”

Gagai’s eagerness sums up the sentiment at Redfern Oval.

“It’s a different vibe around here,” Inglis said. “It’s just a great feeling around this place. Big trials are this week, Charity Shield the following week, a week off, and then, bang, round one the following week.”

 – Sydney Morning Herald


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