Home World Wallabies praise Michael Hooper for brave challenge

Wallabies praise Michael Hooper for brave challenge

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Michael Hooper received praise from his teammates. Photo: May Bailey/Getty Images

Wallabies prop Dave Parecki has praised Michael Hooper for being open about dealing with his mental health issues as the veteran flanker prepares to return to the national team after months out of action.

Hooper caught everyone by surprise when he pulled out of Australia’s tour of Argentina and subsequently missed the entire Rugby Championship for personal reasons.

Australia’s most capped captain has spent the last 12 weeks nursing himself and is days away from returning to action when the Wallabies take on Scotland in the first test of the European spring tour.

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Parecki hopes the younger players have taken notice of what Hooper has done, and hearing it from someone of his stature should break down the stigma of being soft-spoken.

Dave Parecki is proud of the way Michael Hooper has handled them over the past few months.  Photo: Morgan Hancock / Getty Images
Dave Parecki is proud of the way Michael Hooper has handled them over the past few months. Photo: Morgan Hancock / Getty Images

“We could talk for hours about how important this is for sports in general, but also for people our age,” Paretsky said.

“There’s a stigma in rugby that talking about what’s going on in your life can be taboo. We were all incredibly proud to be part of the Hoops and the way he had to approach certain things.

“I think everyone already had enough respect for him, but just for him in his position in Australian rugby to come out and be brave and deal with it, credit to him.

“He’s a great person and it’s good to have him in the team and he holds people accountable. He just came back in good spirits and it’s unreal for him to come back.

“Having a player of this caliber back in the team is huge, especially here away from home in front of hostile crowds. He calms the group down.”

Hooper's return is just what the young team needs ahead of a long European tour.  Image: Daniel Jaio/Getty Images
Hooper’s return is just what the young team needs ahead of a long European tour. Image: Daniel Jaio/Getty Images

Parecki said mental health has improved a lot since he entered the professional ranks, and he was confident it would only improve in a decade as people become more comfortable and more aware of what’s going on.

“I think it’s an area that’s definitely improving,” he said.

“I don’t think we’ve necessarily gotten more or less of that (help) based on the current situation, but I think it’s definitely something in the game that’s getting better because you’re seeing more and more people come forward struggle

“The game as a whole still has a lot to do, but compared to ten years ago when we first came on the scene, it’s improved dramatically. There are many more tools and resources to reach any area you need.

“As long as there’s aggressive performance in the improvement — which there is at this point — that’s all I’m concerned about.”

Dave Rennie will want to see some improvement after the Wallabies lost in the Rugby Championship.  Picture;  Phil Walter/Getty Images
Dave Rennie will want to see some improvement after the Wallabies lost in the Rugby Championship. Picture; Phil Walter/Getty Images

The Wallabies begin their five-Test tour this weekend against Scotland before matches against France, Italy, Ireland and Wales.

It’s the perfect build-up to next year’s World Cup in France, so the Wallabies stopped there this week to get used to what life might look like in 12 months’ time.

It will also be a good test for Wallabies coach Dave Rennie after his side lost four of their six matches in this year’s Rugby Championship, putting pressure on his position.

“Players have to step up,” outside linebacker Andrew Kellaway said.

“I’ve yet to see Dave Rennie miss a tackle.”

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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/its-taboo-how-michael-hoopers-brave-decision-can-help-young-athletes-deal-with-mental-health-issues/news-story/15dc007e7771c6249fda96908080e9ab

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