Rob Burrow has received positive news in his battle against Motor Neurone Disease.
Burrow, one of the most iconic players to have embraced a Super League field, revealed he had MND before Christmas.
But the 37-year-old met with a specialist on Tuesday who confirmed he was in the “very early stages” and could be eligible to trial new drugs.
His voice has already been affected by the condition but Burrow said: “My headspace is really positive.
“The first couple of weeks were emotional but now I’m just getting on with it.
“If I wasn’t doing the media today it’d be a normal day. I’m determined to be here for a long time. That’s important.
“I saw a Professor McDermott in Sheffield who’s a really top guy.
“I never really had answers after being diagnosed – we had so many questions where people didn’t have the answers but he had them.
“We’re at the really early stages of it and some of the tests were borderline.
“He did confirm MND but he said I’m borderline.
“That’s why I can’t be a stat – he reckoned I could be alive for a few years yet which is good.
“He spoke about some trial drugs so hopefully I’m eligible on the criteria to pass.
“It was really positive news in the circumstances.
“The average life span is three years but that’s usually in older people, and it doesn’t apply to me.
“I feel like I’ve got age on my side. Nerves deteriorate as you get older but because I’m younger, that’s in my favour. Rather than three years, it’ll hopefully be nearer 10 – and hopefully I’ll get on the trial drugs too.”
One of the most daunting parts of Burrow’s journey was informing his three children.
“It was important that we told the kids and we did it before Christmas,” he said.
“The middle one, Maya, said, ‘What are you telling us that for, dad? It’s boring!’ The way she said it made it funny and that was great, but they know and I wanted them to know.
“I do have a really positive family and it does help. I’m lucky enough to have loads of support at home, never mind here at Leeds.”
Now, he is looking forward to them having an opportunity to run out onto the Headingley pitch on Sunday as he and a bunch of his former team-mates prepare to play the closing minutes of Leeds’ game with Bradford, which is a joint fundraiser for Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s testimonial.
Almost £250,000 has now been raised, while the match, which will be shown on Sky Sports, has been sold out.
“To go on the pitch with some old friends will be really special. It’s incredible and will be a great feeling to get out there, but I’ll stick to two or three minutes or whatever it is. The whole point is about going on the pitch in the kit again and playing for the club I love.
“The whole rugby family has got on board and I’m sure there will be fans of other clubs there on Sunday. The whole game epitomises the support I’ve had. Again, it’s just overwhelming.
“I’m really positive and really determined, I’m not sure I’ll win the battle but I want to be here for a long time. I want to watch my kids grow up, and my head space is really positive. The first couple of weeks were emotional but now I’m just getting on with it.”