Rugby League star Greg Inglis is “a bit down” that news he entered a mental health clinic to seek help for depression has reached the public, friend and former teammate Justin Hodges has revealed.
Inglis and Hodges — who several times teamed up successfully for Queensland in State of Origin contests — has spoken out after the 30-year-old’s attendance at a rehabilitation centre hit the headlines.
“I spoke to Greg. Greg knew it wouldn’t be kept a secret,” Hodges told The Courier-Mail newspaper.
“He’s a bit down that it’s out there. He didn’t want everyone knowing.
“But it was always going to come out because he’s a high-profile person.
“I won’t go into exact details but it’s a bit of everything. He feels lost. It’s a bit of footy, it’s his injury, and some personal stuff.”
Inglis suffered a serious knee injury for South Sydney in Round 1 of this year’s NRL season.
He is highly unlikely to play again in 2017.
“It’s out there now,” Hodges said.
“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.”
Inglis is far from the first rugby league player to seek help for depression.
Brisbane Broncos captain Darius Boyd took the same step in 2014, with Broncos coach — and rugby league legend — Wayne Bennett declaring Boyd had set the example for Inglis.
“Darius probably led the way a little bit,” Bennett said on Thursday.
“He was so open about it. He didn’t hide it and now he is a changed bloke.
“He is a pathfinder in some ways for the other players.
“The best part is [players] recognising they have a problem and go and get some help — that’s what I am most pleased about.”
Bennett also hinted that Boyd was involved in Inglis seeking treatment.
“Someone pretty close to me — without naming names — was involved in helping him get some advice,” he added.
“It would be more than just the injury but I don’t want to go it.
“It [mental health] is an issue in our society and it always has been.
“But we are in a more open society. People don’t want to hide anytime.
“In the past it was a stigma. It was seen as being weak. All that has been removed — thank God.”
If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.