Dan Vickerman confided about transition difficulties after retiring from rugby
Former Wallabies player Owen Finegan says team-mate Dan Vickerman confided to his friends about the difficulty in making the transition after retirement from rugby.
Vickerman, 37, died at his family home in Sydney on Saturday night. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances
"I think everyone was shocked by it. It was devastating — we all play on an old boys team called the Silver Foxes and Dan had expressed a number of times how difficult his transition was and it is difficult for a lot of professional sports people, especially when you've had 10 or more years at the top of the game," Finegan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
South Africa-born Vickerman played for the Wallabies from 2002 to 2011, retiring after that year's World Cup.
Vickerman's wife, Sarah, and his two sons would be offered help, Finegan, who captained Vickerman at the Brumbies as well as playing alongside him for the Wallabies, said.
"I'm sure the whole rugby community will come around them. I've only heard for about — well it hasn't even been 24 hours and you think to yourself could you have done anything to help him," he said.
"He's got a young family and they'll need all the support they can get. [It will] definitely be something that everyone will be offering and be very supportive to Sarah and the kids and their needs."
The Australian Rugby Union said sporting bodies needed to be vigilant in monitoring players making the transition after their rugby careers.
The ARU's Rob Clarke said players and coaches had been offered counselling following Vickerman's death, the ABC reported.
"We as administrators need to continue to be ever vigilant," he said.
"The transition from being a professional sportsman into the world after sport can be challenging, and we've seen it in a number of sports."
Vickerman's death has shocked the rugby world. Leading Wallabies and All Blacks players, who played with and against him, have paid their tributes.
Former All Blacks lock Chris Jack, a lineout opponent of Vickerman's, said he enjoyed playing against him but also socialising with him after their matches.
"He was a lovely guy and he deserves to be honoured properly."
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