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Mann opens up on how tragedy gave him perspective on footy field

The Knights have had a tough season but for Kurt Mann, he’s fully aware there are much more important things in life.

Mann, the 29-year-old veteran of 160 NRL matches for Melbourne, St George Illawarra and Newcastle, has penned an article for Athletes Voice paying tribute to his mum, Jane, who passed away at the end of 2020, way too young at 60 due to liver cancer.

He recalled spending hours on end with her in the car driving to junior footy games while growing up in Winton in Queensland’s central west and how those trips taught him so much about life.

“It’s at times like this you realise how precious life is and how grateful you are for those times in the car on the road to away games,” he wrote.

“I wouldn’t be an NRL player without the sacrifices she made for me.”

When his mother was unwell during the 2020 season, she was only able to attend one match.

Because of the biosecurity restrictions in place at the time, Mann was not allowed to have any contact with his mum or anyone else outside the Newcastle team.

It’s a moment he still regrets.

“She watched most games on the TV but she got to a game on the Sunshine Coast when we played against Melbourne because, as fate would have it, they had been relocated to Queensland because of the COVID-19 situation in Victoria.

“It was so great to see her in the crowd but one of the hardest things was that I wasn’t allowed to touch her because the NRL’s biosecurity rules at the time meant we weren’t allowed to mingle with anyone before or after the game.

“I regret to this day not giving her a hug after that match because that was the last game that she was able to come and watch me play.”

Kurt Mann playing for Newcastle

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Mann said the silver lining from a tragedy like this is for people to be mindful of their health and to get checked out. And if they’re not satisfied with the original diagnosis, to seek other opinions until you’re certain your health is in order.

“Put your health first at all times. You know your own body and if you’re not feeling well.

“Last season I lost my desire a bit at the start of the year. It took me a little while to get my desire to put my mental and physical health first but it’s well and truly back now.

“And whatever happens on the field, it’s only a game after all. The most important aspects of life are your family and your health. It’s so important to keep on top of those things and not take them for granted.”

Read Kurt’s full article at Athletes Voice.

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