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Important information for all retiring professional and semi-professional players.




This blog post includes important information and also highlights the benefits, services, and events available to you as a transition player, through the RFL and Rugby League Cares. Please save this information in a safe place for future reference.
Transition Meeting 
All transitioning professional and semi-professional players are invited to a face-to-face meeting with the sports Transition Manager, Francis Stephenson, for you to discuss in more detail, and remind you of, the challenges and opportunities professional athletes are presented with in transition. This is an informal catch-up, usually over a coffee, that allows him to provide bespoke and custom advice for your circumstances and aspirations. It also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have relating to your retirement. 
Post-career blues 
It is very common (more than 50 per cent) for retiring professional athletes to suffer from a condition known as post-career blues. This is down to a number of factors such as having a narrow athletic identity or not being fully prepared for transition from a career, emotional, or financial perspective.  
In the vast majority of cases, this passes naturally and can be assisted by developing a new structure and routine, pursuing a new passion and purpose, and staying connected with family and friends. If you have any concerns about a period of extended low mood, please get in touch as we have a number of resources and people available to help you navigate this section of your transition journey. 

The start of pre-season training for next year and also the start of the playing season next year are two windows some players can find especially challenging. 
Operational Rules 
Most retiring players are unaware that they are still subject to the operational rules of RL for a further 12 months following their official announcement. I have outlined some of your key responsibilities below: 
1. You must inform the RFL of your retirement by emailing with the date your retirement starts from, so it is clear when your 12-month period commences. 

2. You can still be tested by UKAD in the 12-month period following your retirement – refusal to be tested can result in an antidoping sanction. 

3. Betting agencies can still monitor your activity within this period and you can still be charged if you bet on any Rugby League within 12 months of your retirement. 
Rookie Camp – Leeds Beckett University – Wednesday December 6 
Each year we run an induction event for newly professional players designed to help them successfully make the transition from junior player to a member of a full-time professional environment. This is a full-day event and we invite all transitioning players to join us on that day so you can pass on your experiences and advice to the next generation of rugby players. You can learn a little more about our last Rookie Camp here: 


If you would like to be part of our next Rookie camp in December please let me know. 
Celebration event (Magic Weekend) – date to be confirmed… 
Next year’s Magic Weekend fixtures has yet to be announced, but when it is we would be delighted if you and a guest could join us in Newcastle next year. We want to help you celebrate your career and the contribution you have made to the success of your respective teams and Rugby League in general. All recently retired players will be invited to enjoy some corporate hospitality in a private suite at St James Park. I will be in touch with full details in the first quarter of 2024. 
Brain health / reunion fundraising event (Warriors Challenge) - date to be confirmed… 
Following on from the success of the challenge in 2022, which included scaling The Old Man of Coniston and kayaking back up Coniston Water, raising £5000, this year’s event is just being finalised. All recently retired players will be invited to join us this year, for a weekend reunion in the Lake District. Again, I will be in touch in a few weeks with full details of the 2024 event but wanted to put it on your radar. All fundraising from this event will be for the newly launched RL Cares Brain Health Fund. 
You can learn more about a previous year’s event here: 

Careers advice and educational support 
All the resources you were able to utilise as a player remain available to you while in transition and this includes career advice and educational support. If you need any guidance or support in this area, please let me know and I will happily introduce you to the right person relevant to your needs. 
Legal and financial advice 
At RL Cares we have a great relationship with our partners, and this includes being able to give direct access to financial and legal advice to current and former players. Again, should you wish to make use of these services, now or in the future, please just let me know. 
All players experience transition differently, however, it is common for most former players to feel a sense of loss or lack of purpose following their retirement, at some point in the first couple of years of transition. This feeling can be more pronounced for those players who are forced to retire before they expected, for whatever reason. Particular dates that are mentioned consistently are around the start of preseason and the start of the season. 
Considering this, we have developed a team of former players into transition mentors who all are happy to talk through their experience over a coffee. For most players, this period is also temporary and talking it through with a former player, who has been through the same experience, can really help. 
Wellbeing and mental health 
Just like when you played you have access to a range of wellbeing services, including specialist sports counsellors, that can be accessed by all transition players. The same rules around confidentiality also still apply.

Feel free to contact me for more details or you can also call this number directly for confidential advice: 
David Kirk - 07838 255704 
Brain health 
The brain health of former players of both rugby codes has been in the spotlight recently and I have had several conversations with players who have concerns in this area. In the first link below there is a short guide to brain health, produced in conjunction with the RFL and you can access a brain health webinar we ran previously using the 2nd link below. 


Brain Health Tips & Guidance


Player Associations 
It can be easy to lose touch with your former players as the distractions of new jobs and priorities take precedence over maintaining friendships. Player Associations are a great way in preserving those friendships and sharing stories and experiences with other generations of players.


Some transition players are not always enthusiastic about being part of a player’s association initially, however, from personal experience, I would encourage you to get in touch with the club or clubs you feel most strongly associated with. If you would like me to introduce you to the main contact for the player associations you are interested in, please let me know. 
Another benefit of being a member of a players association is that you can access 2x complimentary tickets to the Betfred Challenge Cup final, the Betfred Super League Grand Final and any international fixtures that are held in the UK. Your players association will promote these offers to your directly around six weeks before each fixture. 
Injuries and medical records 
Now would be a good time to make sure you have a plan for any injuries that are still causing you concern. I would also recommend asking your former clubs for copies of your medical records, for use in the future. Whilst you may feel fit and well now, my experience of speaking with players 10-20 year retired is that their bodies do deteriorate quicker than normal. Having a copy of your records then can make a real difference in getting the treatment you need quickly. 




RL Players Portal: Transition...


Transition Manager: Francis Stephenson - 07769714992 |





"We are stronger together than we are alone” 



- Walter Payton



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