NRL world rocked by Greg Inglis health revelation
THE rugby league world has been rocked with revelations Queensland Origin star Greg Inglis has admitted himself to a rehabilitation centre to deal with mental health issues.
It's understood the 30-year-old checked himself in 10 days ago and will remain in the clinic for three weeks after struggling with family issues.
Former Broncos captain Justin Hodges has opened up about the private pain engulfing his best mate, saying that Inglis feels "lost” in his battle with depression.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has played a role in Inglis's treatment after fielding calls from concerned friends asking which rehab facility Darius Boyd, the now Brisbane skipper, attended three years ago.
Hodges played State of Origin and Test football with Inglis and is one of his closest confidantes in the NRL.
He spoke to Inglis last night and revealed the South Sydney sensation felt isolated and a loss of identity after some on and off-field struggles in the past three months.
As concern for Inglis swept the NRL last night, Maroons and Cowboys champion Johnathan Thurston also contacted Hodges to inquire about his Origin and Australian teammate's welfare.
"I spoke to Greg (last night),” said Hodges, a veteran of 24 Origin matches who retired from the NRL two years ago. "Greg knew it wouldn't be kept a secret.
"He's a bit down that it's out there, he didn't want everyone knowing, but it was always going to come out because he's a high-profile person.
"I won't go into exact details but it's a bit of everything. He feels lost.
"It's a bit of footy, it's his injury and some personal stuff.
"He's never been in this position, it can be scary to be out with a long-term injury and there's a lot of expectation on him.
"This is part of his healing process. It's out there now. He's an icon of our game and the most important thing is he knows he has great friends and a great family who love him and we're all there to help.”
Inglis snapped his ACL in the opening game of the season in March and faces a nine-month rehabilitation.
His wife Sally recently moved out of their Sydney home and moved to Queensland to be closer to her family in Brisbane.
The pair own a home on Brisbane's northside and Inglis was keen to go with her.
However, he was unable to leave Sydney due to his knee rehabilitation and assistant coaching role at the Rabbitohs.
It is believed the stress of living apart, coupled with uncertainty over his future in rugby league, triggered a breakdown which convinced Inglis to seek professional help.
Hodges, who himself battled depression after suffering a major achilles injury midway through his glittering career, said he could relate to Inglis's personal torment.
"I'm very close to Greg. I know what he is going through,” he said.
"The best thing about it is he's acknowledging he is going through some dramas and these are the issues that face high-profile people. He is 30 years of age now and you question whether you will be the same player.
"You feel you are letting people down and you ask if you will be able to play again.
"Greg never had to worry about that type of stuff before, a lot of things can impact on players and sometimes it takes one big injury for things to come crashing down.
"The important thing is that the game rallies around him and supports him 100 per cent.”
Queensland coach Kevin Walters last night said: "I am shocked by this. Greg was part of our Origin team last year and he's a wonderful young man. It's awful news and my heart goes out to Greg and his family. I hope he gets the help he needs and comes back to the game with a smile on his face.”
The Inglis news came as a shock as some of the game's greats gathered at Nine's Origin launch in North Sydney last night.
"I speak on behalf of all Queenslanders when I say we wish him all the best and hope he makes a full recovery,” rugby league immortal Wally Lewis said.
Fellow Queensland hero Darren Lockyer said long-term injuries could often make life tough for a professional athlete.
"That can play havoc a bit with your mind. We don't know exactly why (with Inglis), but we just hope he comes back better than ever.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au
or beyondblue Support Service on 1300 22 4636.