Conn isn’t after sympathy or publicity but wants to explain why he is giving the game away at just 25.
”I’m having an operation on my neck next week to have my spine fused and I’ve been told that I’d be risking my future if I kept on going,” the Roosters forward said.
”The operation means I’ll be spending time in intensive care and then a week in hospital. They have to cut through the front of my neck. It’s really hit me hard. I’m struggling to cope with it all – you know, you love footy and it gets taken away from you. I’m trying to get my head around it and I’ve only just told my teammates and coach. But I want to have a life afterwards and my aim is to grow my personal training business. At the moment I can’t even hold a focus mitt up for my clients and that is a real reality check. To be honest, this whole thing has really rattled me.”
Conn admits he’s been living on pain-killers.
”I’ve been taking them to get through training and at night. The Roosters did a sleep test on all the players and I was the worst. The worst they’ve seen, actually. I’ve been getting two or three hours a night maximum, and it’s really been affecting me.”
Adding to his difficulties is a pre-existing condition.
”I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve been battling depression. It’s a part of my life that I’m trying to get on top of and there are plenty of other NRL players in my boat. I’m taking it on, and what I’ve been going through in recent times certainly hasn’t helped me. Where I am really lucky is with my girlfriend, Ariane. I don’t know where I’d be without her.”