Young Kirky rugby player bounces back from head injury to raise funds for mental health charity
A young rugby player’s world was shattered two years ago when a serious head injury on the field meant he had to quit the sport he loved.
Now Grant Robertson (23) of Kirkintilloch has bounced back and is tackling the Edinburgh Virtual Half Marathon in aid of the Scottish Association of Mental Health next month.
He wants to urge people – men in particular – to speak out about mental health problems.
Grant was playing for the West of Scotland team against Glasgow Accies when the accident happened in April 2019.
He said: “It was the one day I didn’t take my head guard. I didn’t know I was concussed until a few days later when I went back to training.
"When the accident happened my club physio (west) checked me over and completed all standard protocols and I passed and said I felt fine.
"My rugby club (west) are like family to me and I wouldn’t know where I’d be without them. They have a sports psychologist and care a lot about all their players mental health. We are like a family.
Grant said: "It was on Monday when I was at my uni training that I went into a tackle and that’s when I felt strange and dizzy.
"My physio at Edinburgh Napier University where I was a student, said to me ‘you need to take some time out.
"I did that and I still didn’t feel good in myself.”
Grant then went to see a doctor who gave him the shock news that he would have to give up rugby for at least six months. On top of that, he was also told by the hospital that he would have to wait at least a year for a brain scan.
Grant said: "I missed playing with my rugby team in the final of the Scottish Conference Cup – and they won.”
Add to that the break-up of a relationship and his mental health took a battering on top of his physical health.
Grant said: “I feel that the biggest thing that knocked my mental health was that I put on loads of weight. I lost six stone a few years ago and then I put on pretty much most of it and that just knocked my confidence completely.”
Grant gives credit to Street League, a charity for young people, for getting him back on track.
They encouraged him when he decided to take up running and he started with the couch to 5k run. He is now back playing rugby.
Grant said: “The biggest thing that helped me was to talk. There’s a hashtag #ItsOkToNotBeOk – that’s one thing that I really stand for.
"Especially in mental health. Just get it out there. It can be hard but there are services out there like Samaritans and HelpLine that can help you with your mental health.”
You can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/biccieshalfmarathonforsamh