Should you ever doubt the inspirational power of rugby league, take a few minutes to watch the story of Darren Dean.
Darren is in Australia with the Wakefield Trinity Physical Disabilities Rugby League team, who will play against the Gold Coast Titans PDRL team at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday. GET TICKETS NOW
Darren is as rugby league as they come, and started playing the game he loved aged 8 in the north of England.
But just 10 years later, his life started falling apart when he was diagnosed with leukaemia.
He decided to fight the disease head-on, and four months from the end of his treatment, got back on the footy field with the Dewsbury Rams.
But a problem with his hip while kicking for goal led to the discovery of Avascular Necrosis – dead veins – that was causing his hips to disintegrate.
“Then I got told that I wouldn’t be playing rugby again, and that pretty much killed me inside,” Darren said. “I got through cancer, but that got me.”
Hard as it is to believe, Darren’s life story only got worse from there.
He went back to university to improve himself and start new direction in life.
But while on a trip to Australia, he was bashed to the brink of death during on a night and left with severe brain injuries that meant he could not return to his studies.
He had already endured more than most people would ever have to experience, but the lowest point was still to come.
“Me and my wife, we lost our daughter four years ago now,” he said. “There was that to contend with, and then after that, our house burnt down as well.
“So I was hitting pretty much rock bottom.”
It was then that rugby league flicked on the light at the end of an horrendously dark tunnel.
His wife saw a segment on a morning television program about the Physical Disabilities Rugby League program.
Darren got in touch with the Wakefield Trinity manager and was told he was eligible to play.
“And at that moment, my life just started all over again,” Darren said. “It was absolutely incredible.
“I always watched Super League on the telly, but I would never go to a live game because I missed it so much.”
The Gold Coast Titans RAPT values are to always be Resilient, Accountable, Proud and Trustworthy, but few have personified these values like Darren, and we are truly proud that he and his Wakefield Trinity teammates will be playing against the Titans PDRL team this Saturday at Cbus Super Stadium. GET TICKETS
The game will serve as one of the curtain-raisers to the NRL derby clash between Gold Coast and Brisbane, with the PDRL game kicking off at 3pm.
We encourage all rugby league fans to come and support these fantastic athletes as they take to the field to live their dreams and in the process, inspire each of us to pursue our own.