RYAN James could be forgiven for being a little bit down on himself, having been ruled out for the NRL season in a year where he had cemented a place in the Gold Coast Titans line-up.
But visiting Tweed River High School yesterday, where he attended until year 10, James was nothing but smiles, even though he won't be able to train again for many months.
“The injury is good and I am in high spirits, I am only out for 10 months, it is not that long. I will just get into rehab and rip in and I will be back next year,” the 19-year-old said.
He tore both his medial, and acl ligaments and must wait six weeks for the medial to heal, before he can get surgery on the acl, then start walking again about two weeks after that.
It means he won't be able to help the Titans get off the bottom of the ladder, but James is confident it can be done.
“I think we are just in a rough patch at the moment, things aren't going our way. Every team has been through one and we will get out of it.”
He was at Tweed River yesterday as part of the No School No Play program, of which Tweed River High has become a signatory.
“They didn't have this program in place when I went to Tweed River, but when I went to Palm Beach in year 11, they had the program in, so if you didn't go to school, you didn't play, and it really did help a lot of people's footy careers, so I think it is a really good program,” the Griffith University Bachelor of Business and Sports Management student said.
James is well qualified to be an ambassador for the program, with his former Tweed River teacher Jesse Coates saying he was a model student.
“Ryan is an achiever, and is one of those kids who you can use as a benchmark for how kids should be in school. With his behaviour, he was a role model for everyone else and I am really glad to see him do so well now.” Rugby League legend Ricky Walford, who played 235 games at the top level, is the national manager for Indigenous Rugby League with the ARL. He is a big supporter of the No School, No Play program, which is literal in its meaning and purpose.
“That is the hard and fast rule of the project, and it may seem harsh, but I don't think there are too many organisations that are helping young aspiring rugby league players, or athletes reach their ambitions and realise their abilities and natural talents more than school, and I think school is a perfect place to try and achieve your goals,” Walford said.
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