Wigan’s Steve McCormack has become one of only two sports practitioners in the UK to gain a prestigious globally-recognised qualification in player welfare provision.
McCormack, Rugby League Cares Head of Welfare, has been awarded a Level 4 Certificate in Elite Athlete Wellbeing from the Wellbeing Science Institute. The qualification strengthens RL Cares’s commitment to supporting the sport’s playing community through 2021 and beyond. It was funded by RL Cares and involved McCormack, former Scotland RL coach and Wigan’s welfare manager, studying alongside nine other professionals from a range of sports at Loughborough University over the last 12 months. He said: “I am immensely proud to have acquired Certificate 4 status and would like to thank RL Cares for supporting me throughout the course.
“I first became aware of the qualification a couple of years ago on a fact-finding visit to Australia, where it has become a minimum standard for player welfare in the NRL and many other sports.
“The course takes a holistic approach to supporting elite athletes, including putting positive relationship programmes in place and examining the biological, physiological, spiritual and cultural needs of athletes.
“I’ll now be filtering down the learnings from the course across the charity and to the dedicated club player welfare managers and sharing best practice, so that we can build on the fantastic work that already takes place in Rugby League.
Steve Johnson, the Chief Executive of the Wellbeing Science Institute, said: “Rugby League Cares, the RFL and the Super League clubs should be applauded for taking a proactive protective approach to player wellbeing and mental health.
“This programme, which is the first of its kind in the world, equips athlete wellbeing specialists with three tracks of knowledge and skills.
“The first track is to enhance the personal wellbeing of participants so they experience greater wellbeing in their own lives; the second track is to enable participants to develop word leading strategies, processes and plans for their organisations; and the third track is to enable participants with the skills to self-enable athletes, coaches and officials so they can also take care of their own wellbeing.
“Steve McCormack, through his successful completion of this course, has shown himself to be a world leader in proactive, whole-person athlete wellbeing. Rugby League and the players will benefit hugely from his new knowledge and skills.”