Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton (above) is hoping that this week’s State of Mind themed round of Super League will give supporters an insight into the life of a professional player.
Shenton said that while supporters were equally as passionate about the sport, they probably have not had the opportunity to experience the strains of the job.
“Fans are a massive part of our lives as a rugby player and it’s great that State of Mind have taken the initiative to get them involved too,” said Shenton.
“We see them every time we take to the field and in the week at promotions, but they don’t necessarily get an insight into our world.
“People on the outside seem to think of us as tough, unbreakable guys who are just about rugby.
“Unfortunately in many aspects we’re not and we can still be brought down by factors outside of rugby.
“I can understand why because we’re going out each week making big tackles and shaking it off when we get a knock.
“But you often aren’t able to shake off something that’s been troubling you or a mental illness – it’s much deeper and if you try to then you could be endangering yourself.”
The England international said that he could probably talk to his family, but not all of his teammates would feel able to do so and that’s why State of Mind was a vital project.
“It’s a massive development because sometimes, the lads don’t feel they can talk to someone,” he added.
“I’m really lucky that I’m open with my family and that I can tell them anything, but some people would rather hide it away.
“It’s going to be tough to get people to open up but it’s most definitely going to be worth it because players should be open about these things. I hope my teammates would be able to turn to me in their hour of need.”