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The brutal toll on a professional player's body

WATCH as retired England internationals James Haskell and Dylan Hartley explain the brutal tally the game has taken on their bodies.


Haskell and Hartley were chatting as part of The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast.

The 35-year-old Haskell, with 77 Test caps for England to go with the four caps for the British and Irish Lions, also played in excess of 250 first-class games for London Wasps, Stade Français, Ricoh Black Rams, Highlanders and Northampton Saints.

Hartley, 34, played 97 games for England to go along with his 250-off Northampton Saints games and 14 for Worcester Warriors.

Haskell, in his very descriptive manner, said he had pain every day since he was 23.

“When you are in the grind of it, you don’t notice,” Haskell said.

He spoke about coming out of a morning session and barely being able to cope with the afternoon training because of the pain.


Haskell added that one particular chat with Hartley over a cup of coffee made him realise he has not the only player that had to deal with a bruised and battered body.

* Be warned, extreme language and expletives …

“In the two months alone I have spent £2500 of my own money to get an MRI scan on three parts of my body, I need treatment on three bulging discs on my back I need an injection in my ankle and I need shoulder surgery.

“I need to pay it all myself.

“I don’t get insurance payout, as it is all classed as ‘wear-and-tear’.


“We are not unique.

“It is a really weird place to be in. We haven’t been retired that long,” he said.

Hartley admitted he played with should, knee and ankle injuries.

“Every day you have processes,” Hartley said, adding: “You have people. You have physios, osteos, MRIs, jabs [injections], access to hot and cold treatments.

“You have all these five-six days a week.

“All of a sudden it just drops off and you have to go out to the real world and work. All these things that were keeping you going are not there anymore.”

Source: @GoodBadRugby

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