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Former Great Britain and England International and Bradford Bulls, St Helens, Hull FC and Catalans Dragons legend, Leon Pryce has today praised the rugby league family for the kindness, compassion, and community spirit it has shown to him and his family.
Leon, who has won a haul of silverware throughout his nineteen-year playing career including four Grand Finals, six Challenge Cups, six League Leaders Shields and three World Club Challenge titles, spoke openly about his struggles when his playing career ended, and the role Rugby League Cares played in helping him overcome those challenges and find his way whilst transitioning to life after playing.
“I feel very lucky and fortunate to receive help when I did – it saved me from myself and got my life back on track after struggling for a couple of years after leaving the game. I will be grateful for the rest of my life for the help that I received from Rugby League Cares.”
Leon also spoke of his delight that his son, Will, is developing a successful career in the game having made his Super League debut for Huddersfield Giants this season,
“I’m very proud of Will regardless of if he plays rugby league or not. But for an eighteen-year-old to be doing as well as he is, that makes me extra proud. It’s not just me though, it’s his mother and family we have around us. I’d also like to give credit to Huddersfield Giants, their coaches and player development system, headed by Andy Kelly, which has helped get Will where is up to this moment. But ultimately, it’s Will that’s done all the hard work and he should take full credit for that. It’s a great game to be part of and I’m excited to see his career as a player progress.”
Leon went on to praise rugby league fans for their generosity in helping him raise over £1000 for the Rugby League Cares Warriors Walk which saw Leon and a host of other rugby league stars complete the Yorkshire three peaks last weekend.
“Rugby league is known as a sport with a fanbase where everyone pulls together like a family when times get tough or to get behind a good cause. We’ve seen exactly that this weekend when fans have donated and sponsored people like myself to do the Warriors Walk and raise funds for a really important cause.”
Rugby League Cares helps over 300 players a year in the crucial period when transitioning from playing careers to everyday life. Transition Manager at Rugby League Cares, Francis Stephenson said,
“It’s not something that is often spoken about but the time when a players’ career comes to an end can be a really vulnerable one. They can go from six days a week of early morning training and all the camaraderie and friendships that come from being part of a team to not really having a reason to get up in the morning or not knowing what else they can do to earn a living. This is where Rugby League Cares come in, we offer counselling as well as practical advice and help with training, education and developing pathways into new careers.”
Rugby League Cares is a charity and donations from the public are a crucial source of income to enable the charity to carry out it’s work. If you would like to donate click here.