City inspiration to make emotion return to Sharlston to give rugby league wellbeing talk

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Former Wakefield Trinity player Jimmy Gittins will make an emotional return to Sharlston Rovers to chat to rugby players from around the district about wellbeing in the game.

Gittins, who also played professionally for Dewsbury, will deliver a ‘State of Mind’ programme focusing on the mental health of rugby league players at Sharlston’s Weeland Road base on Tuesday night.

It will be a night of mixed emotions for a player who suffered a serious neck injury that paralysed him from the neck down while in action for the club ten years ago.

He has since defied the initial prognosis that he would never walk again and has taken part in a number of inspiring challenges including a parachute jump from 15,000ft and Dragon-boating 27 miles along the river Thames.

Gittins is also part of the ‘State of Mind’ programme, set-up in 2011 following the death of former Wildcats player Terry Newton to help educate players on their general health and wellbeing.

Sharlston helped Gittins, who now lives in Sandal, recover from his injury by helping to raise £25,000 and he will return to deliver the ‘State of Mind’ programme to the club’s players, and any other players from around the district interested in attending.

“It will be bitter sweet for me to go back, it’s been ten years since the injury” he said.

“I’m going back to the club where it happened, but also back to the club that helped raise money to help me. so it’ll be nice to be able to return.”

Former St Helens player Paul Sculthorpe is also part of the State of Mind programme and is set to accompany Gittins to Sharlston next week, along with current Wakefield player Paul Aiton.

The night will include a State of Mind presentation and a question and answer session on mental health and wellbeing.

It starts at 7.30pm, with doors open from 7pm, and is free of charge and open to players from around the district.