The findings of a study conducted by the University of Huddersfield on First Utility Super League players’ welfare have been released.

The study, which was carried out between January and May 2015, saw 103 players access an online welfare survey answering questions on topics such as the player welfare provision at their club, mental health, stress and athletic identity.

From the survey, the findings were:

Players’ mental health is better when their club has a good Player Welfare Manager in place and have received advice on counselling support available from Sporting Chance

Lower levels of stress and risk of depression are correlated when players have a Player Welfare Manager at their club.

Younger players, and players who are single and do not have any children, have higher athletic identity scores than those who are married and have children.

RFL Welfare Director Emma Rosewarne said: “I’d like to thank the University of Huddersfield for their help in this research which has given players an anonymous way to express their views on player welfare – which is incredibly important.

“It’s been a great opportunity for the Player Welfare Managers from the different clubs to talk about welfare provision confidentially and voice their opinions on how we can improve this going forward.

“We will be using what we found from the survey the players took part in. Next year we will be putting those results into practice and we are taking action to continue to improve the roll out of this vital policy. Players’ participation in the research for this is absolutely essential and it’s great that they are on board with it.”

Dr Alison Rodriguez the Principal Investigator of the study and author of the research report added ‘This research has highlighted the assets of current welfare provision in the RFL and also the ways in which the RFL can work with its players, welfare managers and wider club staff to further improve player welfare. The RFL are serious about player welfare, already taking this research forward, building upon their robust welfare policy and support for transition’.

State of Mind would like to thank Emma Rosewarne for her continued ground breaking work to support players and commissioning the research