You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Dan Vickerman spoke of difficulties he faced in retirement before his death, Owen Finegan says

ABC News logo ABC News 20/02/2017

Former Wallabies player and Brumbies captain Owen Finegan says former team-mate Dan Vickerman confided in his friends about the difficulties he faced after retiring from the game.

Vickerman died, aged 37, at his family home in Sydney on Saturday night.

"I think everyone was shocked by it. It was devastating — we all play on an old boys team called the Silver Foxes and Dan had expressed a number of times how difficult his transition was and it is difficult for a lot of professional sports people, especially when you've had 10 or more years at the top of the game," Finegan said.

Finegan said Vickerman's wife and children will be offered help.

"I'm sure the whole rugby community will come around them. I've only heard for about — well it hasn't even been 24 hours and you think to yourself could you have done anything to help him," he said.

"He's got a young family and they'll need all the support they can get. [It will] definitely be something that everyone will be offering and be very supportive to Sarah and the kids and their needs."

Dan Vickerman died, aged 37, at his family home in Sydney on Saturday night. © Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Dan Vickerman died, aged 37, at his family home in Sydney on Saturday night. Players and coaches offered counselling

The Australian Rugby Union said sporting bodies needed to be vigilant in monitoring players transitioning into retirement.

The ARU's Rob Clarke said players and coaches had been offered counselling following Vickerman's death.

"We as administrators need to continue to be ever vigilant," he said.

"The transition from being a professional sportsman into the world after sport can be challenging, and we've seen it in a number of sports."

Vickerman made his Test debut against France in 2002 and went on to play 63 Tests, but was forced into retirement by stress fractures in his right leg.

The 203-centimetre lock was born in Cape Town, South Africa and played for South Africa's under-19 side in 1999 before moving to Australia and donning green and gold at the under-21 level one year later.

In 2001 he started what turned out to be an 86-game Super Rugby career with the Brumbies and Waratahs, and was called up to the Wallabies in 2002.

Wallabies flanker Phil Waugh played alongside Vickerman at the Waratahs and on the international scene and said Vickerman's team-mates are "all devastated about our good friend and team-mate".

Vickerman is survived by his wife, Sarah, and two sons.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline's 24-hour telephone counselling service on 0800 543 354

-Depression Helpline (8am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757

-Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

-Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz

More From ABC News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon