Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow has announced that he has recently been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).

37-year-old Burrow retired from playing at the end of the 2017 season after helping the Rhinos win their eighth Super League Grand Final, coming off the interchange bench as Leeds defeated Castleford at Old Trafford. Following his retirement, he took a role as the club’s Reserve team Head Coach and led the Rhinos academy team for two seasons.

A father of three, Burrow played his entire career for the Rhinos, making 492 appearances after making his debut in 2001 and stands fifth in the club’s all-time list of career appearances.

A regular threat when on the pitch, he scored 196 tries and 1,103 points for the club and made fifteen appearances for England. He has five test caps for Great Britain to his name and was named Man of the Series in 2007 for the national side. A two-time winner of the Harry Sunderland trophy in 2007 and 2011’s Grand Finals, Burrow is without doubt one of the best players Super League has seen.

He won the Challenge Cup in 2014 and 2015 as well as three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders Shields.

Commenting on the announcement, Burrow said: “Regrettably, today I am confirming that I have been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I would like to thank everyone for the support I have received already since being given my diagnosis.”

” I know I have a big challenge in front of me but knowing that I have the love and support of so many people will give me inspiration and strength. I am very positive about the situation and intend to battle the condition as I still feel fit and well.”

“I would like to ask for privacy at this time so I can adjust to the battle I have ahead and so that I can spend time with those closest to me ahead of Christmas and New Year.”

Leeds Rhinos Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield commented on his friend, saying, “This has been devastating news and heart breaking for Rob and his young family. 

“The thoughts of everyone at Leeds Rhinos and, I am sure, throughout the Rugby League family is with Rob and his wife Lindsey.”

“Throughout his career, Rob overcame the odds to become a legend of the game and I know he will tackle this challenge with the exact same positive determination.”

“As a club, Rob will receive our full support and we will be working with him to chart the way forward. I would like to thank Doddie Weir for taking time out recently to meet with Rob and talk about his own personal experiences with MND.”

“The news has been a massive shock and I know it will be similar for his many former team mates, friends and fans in the game. We will be developing ways we can best support Rob and his family in the future over the next few weeks and will be hoping to announce plans as soon as possible in the New Year. In the meantime, I would ask you all to keep Rob and his family in your thoughts over the Festive period,” added Sinfield.

For more information about Motor Neurone Disease (MND) please visit the MND Association’s Website by clicking here.

Leeds Rhinos as a club have outlined ways fans can help Rob and his family through this difficult time. On Sunday 12th January, Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s testimonial game will now be a joint fundraiser for both Jamie and Rob. With the opponents being Bradford Bulls, there is hope that a huge number of fans will turn out to support the duo in a fixture where both offered so much for the Rhinos in the past.

The club have also set up a special Virgin Money Giving page where fans can donate any amount with all donations going to support Rob and his family.

Everyone at Rugby AM would like to pass on our thoughts to Rob and his family at this difficult time.