South Sydney Rabbitohs star Greg Inglis enters mental health rehabilitation facility
As the rugby league community rallies around a hospitalised Greg Inglis, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg believes the game can help reduce the stigma surrounding depression.
Greenberg has also defended the governing body's role in helping players handle the pressure that comes with being a professional athlete following revelations of Inglis' personal battles.
"Rugby league can help reduce the stigma for young men to put their hand up when they've got some problems, and clearly that's what Greg's done today," Greenberg said on Thursday.
South Sydney Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis has entered a mental health rehabilitation facility as he grapples with issues arising from a season-ending knee injury suffered in the first round of the NRL in March.
Friend and former team-mate Justin Hodges spoke with Inglis on Wednesday after the Rabbitohs revealed the rugby league superstar had gone into care.
"I won't go into exact details but it's a bit of everything. He feels lost. 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," Hodges told the Courier Mail.
Hodges said Inglis would have preferred for his problems to remain private, but understood his stardom would lead to public interest, "Greg knew it wouldn't be kept a secret."
"This [public interest] 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."
Hodges told the Courier Mail he was "very close" to Inglis and knew what he was going through.
"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."
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said last week Inglis was hopeful of being fit in time for the 2017 World Cup.
"He hasn't given up which is the most important thing," Meninga told AAP.
"He's trying his hardest to be available at the end of the year."
But the latest news on his mental health casts further doubt on his availability for international rugby league's showpiece occasion, which is held in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea later this year.
Inglis, who can play fullback, centre and five-eighth, first represented Melbourne Storm in the NRL in 2005 before joining South Sydney in 2011.
The Kangaroos international has played for Queensland 30 times in State of Origin and won 38 Australia caps since his representative debut in 2006.
Where to get help
Lifeline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 111 757
Healthline (open 24/7) - 0800 611 116
Samaritans (open 24/7) - 0800 726 666
Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
Youthline (open 24/7) - 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email email@example.com
0800 WHATSUP children's helpline - phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
Kidsline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.
Your local Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).