NRL Ben Ross, The Footy Show: Star reveals mental recovery in new program by Tyson Otto

NRL Ben Ross, The Footy Show: Star reveals mental recovery in new program by Tyson Otto

BROKEN neck. Shattered arm. 11 years of rugby league injuries and aches.

Former Queensland State of Origin star Ben Ross is the perfect example that anybody can get their health and fitness back on track. Next week will mark two years since Ross’ horrific arm-wrestling broken arm injury live on Channel 9’s Footy Show, and his ordeal is far from over. The NRL premiership winner has revealed a glimpse into his daily headaches and mental strain as a result of his arm snapping at the elbow joint while wrestling friend and fellow NRL legend Wendell Sailor live on the NRL panel show. According to reports, doctors regard the arm injury in the same category as a disability, but he is yet to see a cent from Channel 9 to put towards his medical expenses. This is no concern to Ross right now and it is simply the tip of the iceberg of his mental health problems. Two years later he struggles to pick up his daughters. Two years later he can’t throw a football with his dominant hand. He struggles to complete a push-up while wincing in pain. This is the same NRL star who regularly knocked off bench press sets with the bar stacked at 150kg.

Most importantly this is the same star who was 15kg lighter two years ago. This is why Ross is the perfect example that anybody can get their act together. Struggling for the energy and motivation to maintain a regular diet and exercise program still only at the start of his long road back to regaining full strength in his arm, Ross admits he’s “let himself go”. This is why he’s signed up to the My Body Science program alongside fellow NRL greats, including Terry Lamb, Barry Ward, Sean Garlick, Mick Ennis and Steve Menzies.
Ross simply wants to lose that weight he has put on since his arm injury and vanquish some mental demons that have hung around since he found himself in hospital needing his first of many surgeries on that arm.


“I was fit. I was strong and I could do a lot of things and now throwing a ball with my kids is one thing I can’t do any more,” Ross said. “I’ve learned to throw left-handed now, but there’s a pain associated with those simple things. It played a lot on my mind. My daughter’s four now and throwing the ball with her gives me the shits because I can’t do it properly.

“Working through those things is quite tough and that’s why I’m hoping my fitness improves enough and my strength improves working with the guys from Body Science. “Two years ago I broke my arm on The Footy Show doing the arm wrestle and from that day on I haven’t really exercised. I’ve let myself go. A lot of people talk about mental health and emotional health of people when they become unfit and I suppose my mental health stuff is because I don’t train and I’m unable to do the certain exercises I used to be able to do because of the way my arm is now. “I reckon it’s close to 15kg that I’ve put on since that day. I was training every day, some times twice a day. I had an active lifestyle. I’d retired from footy and I could play golf every day or play tennis every day. Go surfing and that sort of stuff and that all fell by the wayside.” The final surgery he requires is scheduled at the end of his 12-week program with Body Science, but before then he and wife Renai will welcome their third child into the world. It’s just another reason he hopes to transform his fitness and mental health in the next 12 weeks of this program. The Men of League NSW state manager who specialises in the welfare and mental health of NRL stars will continue the same mental health training he has been doing for the past two years. He has had to deal with more than his fair share of demoralising blows in that time. The countless surgeries. The social media trolls attacking his wife over the reports he is planning to sue Channel 9. The friends that abandoned him when he needed them the most. It has taught him a very harsh lesson. “I think it’s affected my daughters, my oldest daughter particularly, she hates hospitals,” Ross said.

“She was so young when I was in there so she sort of relates it to that. So it’s affected my family more than it’s affected myself if anything. That’s what you have to put up with. “Wendell’s been very good for us. He came out when Renai was bullied online when it came out about me supposedly suing Channel 9. The mental side of things for her, it hasn’t been good. “The one thing I realised after breaking my arm, you realise who actually cares about you. You think all these people are there for you and you think they have your best interests at heart, but when it comes down to it and they’re not. “Wendell Sailor was phenomenal. He called my wife on a number of occasions making sure she was OK and wanted to know if we ever needed anything and he called me on a regular basis. “Then you see the people who you thought were there for you and there was absolutely nothing. “It does put it in perspective. There were times you always knew you were doing something good for someone, but when it comes back, it’s not reciprocal. It’s a hard thing. I can’t name names or anything like that, but the big reality check is, I always say to people now, ‘If you ever think someone’s doing something out of the goodness of their heart, look behind it and see if it really is like that or if they’ve got something to achieve from it’.” That’s exactly what he’s trying to move on from in these next 12 weeks of training. Against the avalanche of excuses, Ross is determined to be the proof that anybody can get their fitness and mental health back on track.

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