Rob & MND
On 19th December 2019, it was announced that Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) a week earlier.
Burrow, 37, retired from playing at the end of the 2017 season, his final game seeing him winning his eighth Super League Grand Final. He is the club’s Reserve team Head Coach having led the Rhinos Academy team for the past two seasons.
The father of three children, all aged under eight at the time of his diagnosis, played his entire career at Leeds Rhinos, making 492 appearances for the club following his debut in 2001, placing him in fifth in the club’s all-time list of career appearances. He scored 196 tries for a total of 1,103 points. He was capped 15 times by England and played five more tests for Great Britain including a Man of the Series performance in 2007 for the national side. He is a two-time winner of the Harry Sunderland Award as Man of the Match in the 2007 and 2011 Grand Final. He won the Challenge Cup in 2014 and 2015 as well as three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders Shields.
Commenting when the announcement was made, 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.”
Since his diagnosis, Rob has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for the MND Association. That has included two award winning documentaries produced by BBC Breakfast that have taken the world into the Burrow family to expose the challenges faced by those with a MND diagnosis. He is also a two-time best selling author, has hosted a BBC podcast and has inspired over £15 million of fundraising including four incredible challenges by his friend and former team mate Kevin Sinfield.
Rob was awarded a MBE in 2020 for his services to Rugby League and the MND community during the Covid 19 pandemic and was then awarded a CBE in the 2023 New Years Honours by the King for his continued services to the MND community.
Rob has two daughters and a son, all of whom were under ten when Rob was diagnosed.
Rob was awarded the Helen Rollason Award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2022 and, along with his wife Lindsey and Kevin Sinfield, was given a Pride of Britain award in 2023 for his inspirational work with the MND community.