Supporting mental fitness in professional rugby league match officials
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Supporting mental fitness in professional rugby league match officials

Philip Anthony Cooper Nurse consultant, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Warrington, England and co-founder, State of Mind Sport
Stephen Ganson Head of match officials, Rugby Football League, St Helens, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To be aware that the regular abuse experienced by rugby league match officials can negatively affect their mental health and well-being

  • To enhance your understanding of the effects of verbal and physical abuse on rugby league match officials

  • To consider the role of mental health nurses in supporting the mental fitness of match officials and others involved in sport

Abuse of match officials in rugby league and other sports is common. Such abuse has a negative effect on match officials’ mental fitness, self-esteem and confidence and is one of the main reasons for them leaving, or wanting to leave, their sport. Mental health nurses working alongside match officials, for example teaching self-care skills and resilience to cope with negative experiences, is an innovative approach to improving mental fitness and preventing mental health problems among this group. This article discusses some of the issues faced by rugby league match officials. It also describes the findings of a small-scale evaluation that examined the effects of the role, specifically that of referee, on their mental health. The authors also consider the role of mental health nurses in supporting mental fitness in this group.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2022.e1617

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@wirephil

Correspondence

philcooper121@btinternet.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Cooper PA, Ganson S (2022) Supporting mental fitness in professional rugby league match officials. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2022.e1617

Published online: 21 June 2022

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