Former Super League prop Keith Mason spoke to Serious About Rugby League recently.
The former Huddersfield Giants and St Helens forward was asked what he would like to see change in rugby league and he has called for more support for players as he believes “a lot” of players “get dragged up” and many ex-players go on to suffer “depression or mental illness.”
He said: “I guess there’s always improvements, I’m not sure about one specific thing. I watch the game but not every single game but I am a big fan of the game because my son is playing, I want to follow his journey and see where he goes.
“Protecting players, setting something for players to go into. A lot of my ex-teammates from St Helens, Huddersfield and others, we have all been through some kind of depression or mental illness because you get let to their own devices.
“That’s where I think, if the players had someone to help them to save their money every six months, because a lot of players come from council estates, it’s a working man’s game.
“A lot get dragged up, we’re not union players, we don’t go to colleges so when young players earn money, they don’t know what to do with it so Super League needs someone whose fulltime job is to help with that so that they can invest when they are 25, 26 so they can have something that they can go into.”
He then revealed that he and Kevin Brown are already putting plans in place to support his son at Lukas at Wigan Warriors:
“That’s the pathway we’re using for Lukas having spoken to Kev Brown about it. If he works hard and achieves what he wants to achieve, hopefully when he is 25 or 26 he can set something up and have a second income.
“I would have a welfare person who is really smart on how to invest money and look after it and I think you need mental health coaches and everyone needs one at the club fulltime so they can speak to someone high up with that and I think every club needs that so you can speak to them every day.
“You think about the head knocks you have every week, your body isn’t meant to be smashed up so talking to someone and sitting down, life goes on as well there are stresses and pressures.”