Injuries force former NRL player to think of life beyond the league field

“I think it was after the first time I did my ACL. It was the first time I thought, you know, my dream of playing professional sport could be over.”

Growing up in Wellington, Jordan Kahu dreamed of becoming an All-Black and played rugby union throughout childhood. But in high school, he switched to rugby league, got a scholarship to play in Australia and quickly became one of Australia’s best high school players.

He was then picked to play for a first-grade squad, and everything was looking up until he suffered a severe injury that left him with a torn ACL. He then re-injured his ACL which brought an abrupt end to his league career and forced him to rethink his career options.

Struggling with the frustration of not being able to play, Jordan had to reassess what he should do for work. 

He’s managed to harness his passion and knack for creative pursuits and believes he learnt an important lesson about keeping options open, especially when it comes to relying on sport for a career. 

“My advice to young Māori is not to put your eggs all in one basket. I think you should dedicate an hour a day to pursuing something else you’re passionate about.”

This is part of our reo Māori series, Ohinga, created by Mahi Tahi Media, with funding from Te Māngai Pāho. Stay tuned for a new episode every week.

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