Rob Burrow: Leeds Rhinos legend diagnosed with motor neurone disease
Burrow: "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"
Last Updated: 20/12/19 6:19am
Leeds Rhinos club legend Rob Burrow has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
The 37-year-old, who won 13 major honours during his 15-year playing career with the Rhinos, is currently head coach of the reserve team at the Super League club.
"Regrettably, today I am confirming that I have been diagnosed with motor neurone disease," said Burrow in a statement released by the Rhinos.
"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."
Burrow made his debut for Leeds in 2001 and spent the whole of his professional career at the club, scoring 1,103 points in 492 games for the Rhinos.
The former scrum-half won eight Super League Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges and two Challenge Cups during his time at Headingley, while appearing in a record 23 finals.
Burrow also won 15 caps for England and five for Great Britain over the course of a 10-year international career.
He retired at the end of the 2017 season after winning the Super League Grand Final before beginning his coaching career at Headingley.
Burrow was appointed head coach of the club's academy in 2018 before becoming head coach of the reserve team earlier this year.
Leeds have confirmed a planned testimonial for Jamie Jones-Buchanan against Bradford Bulls on January 12 will now be a joint fundraiser for both Burrow and Jones-Buchanan.
Burrow's former Leeds team-mate Kevin Sinfield, who is now director of rugby at Headingley, says the club will do all it can to support Burrow following his diagnosis.
"This has been devastating news and heart breaking for Rob and his young family," said Sinfield.
"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."