Who is Rob Burrow and when was he diagnosed with MND?
But his life changed dramatically with the onset of motor neuron disease (MND). He is now in a wheelchair and is cared for by his wife Lindsey.
This weekend Burrow completed the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon, a sporting event in his honor.
The rugby legend was carried across the finish line by his close friend and fellow rugby player Kevin Sinfield at the end of the 26.2 mile race, who got there in a specially adapted wheelchair.
Since Burrow’s diagnosis, Sinfield has raised more than £8million for people living with MND through sponsored runs in Burrow’s honour.
Here’s everything you need to know about Burrow’s backstory and his battle with MND.
Who is Rob Burrow?
The 40-year-old Yorkshireman only played rugby for one club, the Leeds Rhinos. He was often the team’s chosen scrum half or hooker from 2001 to 2017, playing 493 times. He won eight Super League Championships, two Challenge Cups and was named to the Super League Dream Team three times.
Burrow also won 15 caps for England and five for Great Britain during his glittering career.
This was all achieved despite his 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) height and 66 kg (10 stone, 5 lb) build, which makes him unusually slim for a rugby player. For many years he was considered the “smallest player in the Super League”.
He and his wife Lindsey have two daughters, Macy and Maya, and a son, Jackson.
When was Rob Burrow diagnosed with motor neuron disease?
Burrow announced in December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with MND.
The disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease (nearly 90 percent of patients with MND have the ALS mixed form of the disease), affects the brain and nerves. It gets progressively worse over time and there is no cure.
The first symptoms include slurred speech, weak grip and muscle cramps. It is a rare condition that is rarely hereditary.
The NHS says of the condition: “It’s caused by a problem with cells in the brain and nerves called motor neurons. Over time, these cells gradually stop working. It is not known why this is happening.”
It can be difficult to diagnose early-stage MND, and while it is incurable, there are ways to treat it.
“I expected to be told I had something that could be treated and that I could move on.” Burrow told the BBC at the time his diagnosis.
“It was a bit of a shock when the doctor told me I had something that couldn’t be cured.
“Apart from my voice and a few little things, I feel normal and ready to go.”
Burrow, who was named an MBE on the 2021 New Year’s Honors List for his services to rugby league and the motor neuron disease community in December 2020, added: “The hardest part is not knowing why you have it and it is there nothing.” you can do.
“Maybe it’s the athlete in all of us, we don’t want to lie down and just take it, we want to compete.”
Burrow’s condition has deteriorated significantly. In addition to being in a wheelchair, he speaks through a machine similar to the one used by the late famous physicist Stephen Hawking, who also suffered from a neuropsychiatric disorder.
A colleague of the Leeds Rhinos legend, Kevin Sinfield has supported his friend by taking on various challenges in aid of MND charities. For example, in November 2022, Sinfield ran for office Seven ultramarathons in seven days.
Sinfield said: “Throughout his career Rob has defied all odds to become a legend of the game and I know he will approach this challenge with exactly the same positive determination.”
“As a club, Rob will have our full support and we will work with him to plan the way forward.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/showbiz/who-rob-burrow-motor-neurone-disease-rugby-league-b1071893.html Who is Rob Burrow and when was he diagnosed with MND?