PLAYING rugby league is difficult enough already, but to play it with one eye takes a lot of doing.
For Leeds Rhinos legend Barrie McDermott, that was a reality.
Born in Oldham, McDermott, who is now a regular pundit on Sky Sports’ Super League coverage, moved to Wigan in 1994, playing 13 appearances before joining Leeds.
Leeds was where McDermott made his name, playing almost 300 games in an 11-year career for the West Yorkshire side.
But he did all that with just one eye after an accident with an air rifle caused him to lose half of his vision.
In an interview with Rugby League World magazine, McDermott explains how he overcame the loss of an eye to actually make it his driving force during his rugby league career.
“I’ve been asked this many times, but you overcome, you compensate and you adapt,” McDermott told the Rugby League World magazine.
“For me the obstacle I had actually became my driving force. It made me more determined.
“People looked at me and I maybe looked a bit scary, and the way I played the game was very confrontational, so I’d say it was actually an asset.
“There was never any part of my game that suffered for it. I’d like to think I had a good offload, could pass the ball well and had good footwork, but I think my ultimate strength was my determination and determination to prove people wrong.
“That negativity was a blazing furnace inside me throughout my career and perhaps one of the things that drives me on now.”
League Express is widely available from local newsagents across the north of England.