'You're so angry and so fed up': Latest Willis mini-doc tells of harrowing Wasps retirements
Ex-Wasps players Marcus Garratt and Alex Rieder have provided a compelling insight into the mental strain of a long-term injury in episode four of The Rebuild 2.0, the comeback series on Wasps and England flanker Jack Willis.
Exploring the mental side of a long-term injury, Willis was also joined by his brother Tom, his fellow Wasps back-rower, to discuss how Jack handled his first ACL injury in 2018, as well as his fractured ankle after returning to action in 2019.
Meanwhile, Garratt and Rieder detailed their experiences of being on the sidelines for an extended period and eventually being forced to retire. Lock Garratt retired in 2019 at the age of 24 after four knee surgeries while back-rower Rieder was forced to quit later that year at the age of 28 due to a knee injury, a trauma he spoke at length to RugbyPass about last summer.
Garratt said that “you get to the point where you lose all care” and that it was “such a relief” when he was told he had to retire. All three players were injured at the same time in 2018 and 2019 and therefore spent a lot of time together, but they admitted they did not discuss the psychological side of their injuries.
Rieder added that he wished he had “reached out sooner”. He said: “I’d say the vast majority of any injury, the only setback in life is the mental aspect of it. My body was going to recover or it wasn’t going to recover, the injury was either going to happen or not. It was how mentally was I prepared to push through it.
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“That time to stay at 100 per cent intensity just can’t exist. You can’t wake up every day, eat well, you just can’t. The point I got to is you just become so numb to it and you are so angry and so fed up that I was doing the opposite of what I needed to do.
“It is so hard because mental health and depression is not a black and white thing. There are parameters of it, there are stages and there is a slow descent into it that I wish I had reached out sooner.”
He's no household name but the story of @AlexRieder1 is a compelling insight into hardships inflicted by the sport: shattered limbs, dependence on painkillers and an onerous mental health battle that preyed on vulnerabilities
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 19, 2020
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