RIP Dan Vickerman



  • Former Wallabies, Brumbies, and Waratahs lock Dan Vickerman has died age 37. No real details yet, but fucking hell... Not a great little period this

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/rugby/tragedy-as-former-wallaby-daniel-vickerman-dies/news-story/c5f6134ddeaac7c3b8973d41ef857617



  • AUSTRALIAN rugby is in shock after the sudden death of former Wallabies star Dan Vickerman.

    The 37-year-old passed away on Saturday night. It’s believed there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

    He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

    Former teammates who were told the news today have been left devastated.

    Vickerman played 63 Tests for Australia between 2002 to 2011, including that year’s World Cup in which Australia made the semi-final.

    He was forced to prematurely retire in 2012 due to persistent problems with stress fractures in his right leg.

    AUSTRALIAN rugby is in shock after the sudden death of former Wallabies star Dan Vickerman.

    The 37-year-old passed away on Saturday night. It’s believed there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

    He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

    Former teammates who were told the news today have been left devastated.

    Vickerman played 63 Tests for Australia between 2002 to 2011, including that year’s World Cup in which Australia made the semi-final.

    He was forced to prematurely retire in 2012 due to persistent problems with stress fractures in his right leg.

    In 2002 he made his debut for the Wallabies in Sydney against France, and the 204cm, 119kg giant became renowned as one of Australia’s toughest ever locks over the next decade.

    At 28 and in the prime of his career, Vickerman quit the Waratahs, who he joined in 2004, and Wallabies to study a degree in Land Economics at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

    Upon his graduation in 2011, then Wallabies coach Robbie Deans immediately recalled him to the national side, such was his stature and ability.

    Vickerman helped Australia win the Tri-Nations that year and played his final Test match in the semi-final defeat to the All Blacks in Auckland.

    Vickerman had remained involved in the game as part of the Sydney Rugby Business Network and helping at Sydney University Rugby club until last year.



  • @NTA what a bloody tragedy.

    So many of that crop seem to be disappearing from the earth - just head shakingly frustrating.

    All the best to his family and our Aussie cousins - really bad news



  • What horrible news. Article i've read on Fox Sports referenced Lifeline at the bottom of the article....

    He used to do work on Fox Sports News - seemed like a real nice guy.



  • @KiwiMurph said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    What horrible news. Article i've read on Fox Sports referenced Lifeline at the bottom of the article....

    He used to do work on Fox Sports News - seemed like a real nice guy.

    The NZ Herald article has all the suicide helplines too.
    Which of course means this death will soon not be reported any further.

    @NTA what about over in OZ? Are media there allowed to discuss deaths by suicide?



  • My recollection is they tend not to. But yeah the Lifeline numbers at the bottom of the article are kind of a giveaway



  • Horrible news.

    If it is illness eg a suspected heart attack, they say so. But if none of that and 'there are no suspicious circumstances' it's usually a suicide.

    His poor family.



  • Vickerman was quite literally the biggest guy I have ever met. A giant, in so many ways.

    If a bloke of his size, his strength, his character couldn't deal with mental illness, what hope are the rest of us? It just doesn't discriminate at all.



  • fark just saw this on the news!

    as above, was one tough hombre on the field, RIP



  • @NTA said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

    That's desperately sad.

    I wonder if rates of depression are higher among retired professional athletes.



  • Well that is shit. I feel for his family, 37 is just too damn young



  • @antipodean said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    @NTA said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

    That's desperately sad.

    I wonder if rates of depression are higher among retired professional athletes.

    Depression and suicide in athletes is often tied to CTE from concussion



  • Jesus, 37 is way too young for anyone to go. I hope his family is OK.

    RIP big fella.



  • The worst thing is, as long as suicide is a taboo topic, and no one is allowed to talk about it, it's going to keep happening.

    The non-reporting of it makes it seem like it's an occasional, out of the blue thing. It's not. It's all too tragically frequent, and men make up a big number. Education, wealth, job history doesn't exclude anyone.



  • It's not reported on so as not to inspire copycats. People - especially youth - read it and think it's a legitimate 'out' for issues they are battling.



  • @Wurzel said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    It's not reported on so as not to inspire copycats. People - especially youth - read it and think it's a legitimate 'out' for issues they are battling.

    That's what they say but I wonder if that is really true.

    Anyway, RIP Dan.



  • @Wurzel said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    It's not reported on so as not to inspire copycats. People - especially youth - read it and think it's a legitimate 'out' for issues they are battling.

    Funny then its not reported in NZ yet we still have the highest suicide rate in the western world.
    Something clearly has to change, burying our heads in the sand wont change a thing.
    The copycat argument is bullshit



  • @Virgil said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    The copycat argument is bullshit

    The NSW police used to explain how people met their ends in the gazette. They stopped doing that after a couple of people used the same novel technique. Including one who had clearly changed his mind, albeit a little too late.



  • @antipodean yea I read something a week or 2 back about 3 girls, made a pact to kill themselves, 1 did it, other 2 didnt, said they were never serious...

    Seems to be alot of organisations trying to make people more aware of Suicide at the moment.



  • @Virgil A couple of years ago the media outlets in NZ got together and decided to report suicides, but that was only after the parents of one suicide victims asked media to report it. I think they now only report it if the family requests it, otherwise it's just the lifeline information at the end of the article.



  • What a tragic news. So young! Devastating for his wife and young sons! RIP.

    I agree that the media shouldn't discuss suicide in detail, but that's no excuse for not discussing mental illness. In NZ, and probably also in Australia (?), we have this terrible "harden up mentality" that prevents people with mental illness talking about it, out of fear of being labelled soft or wacko. It's also one of the most under-diagnosed illnesses, maybe for that reason. What we see and hear are some of the consequences of mental illness: suicide, alcoholism, gambling, other addictions, which are then either bemoaned, deplored or condemned, but there's often no discussion about what may be causing it.

    I'm starting to hate this year already .. already 3 rugby union stars gone. And that's only union.



  • @Sneakdefreak said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    @Virgil A couple of years ago the media outlets in NZ got together and decided to report suicides, but that was only after the parents of one suicide victims asked media to report it. I think they now only report it if the family requests it, otherwise it's just the lifeline information at the end of the article.

    Jim Andertons daughter took her own life and he's used every ounce of influence he has to stop the press reporting on it ever since . Occasionally if the family requests it there will be stories about the background of victims, the last one I read was absolutely heartbreaking. I'm sure we all know of someone whos taken their own life and that feeling that there's something you might have been able to do to help even if it was only lending a sympathetic ear never really goes away.



  • Back to the OP , very sad news . He was the sort of player you wish was wearing your teams jersey every time he played against you.

    In more positive news Christian Leilafanos leukaemia is apparently in remission and he wants to get back to playing asap.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/89565318/brumbies-star-christian-lealiifano-in-recovery-from-leukaemia-after-bone-marrow-transplant



  • @jegga said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    Jim Andertons daughter took her own life and he's used every ounce of influence he has to stop the press reporting on it ever since . Occasionally if the family requests it there will be stories about the background of victims, the last one I read was absolutely heartbreaking. I'm sure we all know of someone whos taken their own life and that feeling that there's something you might have been able to do to help even if it was only lending a sympathetic ear never really goes away.

    It was the coverage of his daughter's mental health issues (before she killed herself) that he stopped the media reporting on and I support him for doing that. I know of journalists accidentally playing a part in the suicide of a mentally ill person because they wanted to report it for their news outlet.

    What is the NZRU/ARU/Super Rugby policy on player wellbeing during and after their careers? I know the NRL has support groups for players who have fallen on hard times and really try and help the young players (after several suicides from young guys who buckled under the stress of professional sports and needing to provide for their families).



  • Not sure if you can get past the paywall but the Sunday Times (UK) has an article about mental health for rugby players which has come out with perfect (if sad) timing

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hearts-of-darkness-vvdkz8rcg

    Yes, it's from the Walrus



  • Really feel for his family, an awful thing to have to experience.



  • Very good player. RIP.



  • Terrible news 😞
    My condolences, thoughts, hugs and love go to his family and friends.
    I too believe the stigmatism around suicide needs to be brushed aside so we can talk openly about this tragic subject.
    I like to believe that if people considering suicide could see the devastation suicide leaves behind, they'd maybe feel differently about it as an option.



  • @Virgil said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    @Wurzel said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    It's not reported on so as not to inspire copycats. People - especially youth - read it and think it's a legitimate 'out' for issues they are battling.

    Funny then its not reported in NZ yet we still have the highest suicide rate in the western world.
    Something clearly has to change, burying our heads in the sand wont change a thing.
    The copycat argument is bullshit

    I don't think we actually have the highest suicide rate in the western world. We may have the highest male youth maybe, but there's a number of western countries with a higher rate than us.

    Sad to hear about - I wonder if there was any knowledge within the rugby community that he was struggling . RIP.



  • Whatever the cause of death, condolences to his family. If the speculation is correct, I hope that any learnings are captured 're identification of an issues, monitoring, and intervention. It can't be easy hanging up your boots after being a top level competitor, and depending on the individual I'd guess that pro sportsmen are potentially more vulnerable to depression. Shit, I felt bad enough when I stopped playing, and I did it as a hobby - must hit like a train when it's your life 24/7. I would also guess that with the pros now maybe lacking academic qualifications or existing careers like the older generations, whilst facing shorter more intense playing careers, this is an area that will need managing.



  • I'd think less so with Vickerman - by all reports he had a successful career post-rugby and was still involved in the game.



  • @Sneakdefreak said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    @jegga said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    Jim Andertons daughter took her own life and he's used every ounce of influence he has to stop the press reporting on it ever since . Occasionally if the family requests it there will be stories about the background of victims, the last one I read was absolutely heartbreaking. I'm sure we all know of someone whos taken their own life and that feeling that there's something you might have been able to do to help even if it was only lending a sympathetic ear never really goes away.

    It was the coverage of his daughter's mental health issues (before she killed herself) that he stopped the media reporting on and I support him for doing that. I know of journalists accidentally playing a part in the suicide of a mentally ill person because they wanted to report it for their news outlet.

    What is the NZRU/ARU/Super Rugby policy on player wellbeing during and after their careers? I know the NRL has support groups for players who have fallen on hard times and really try and help the young players (after several suicides from young guys who buckled under the stress of professional sports and needing to provide for their families).

    Media can certainly leave out the how's and the whys of a suicide. But why can't they be allowed to use the 'S' word?
    It's such a taboo subject it's easier to pretend it doesn't happen, but it does and far too often.
    In recent weeks there's been news reports of kids as young as 8 taking their own life.. 8!



  • @NTA said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    I'd think less so with Vickerman - by all reports he had a successful career post-rugby and was still involved in the game.

    He did take time out of the game to get edumicated. It's probably difficult when you're used to a level of success in one aspect of your life that may not translate into others.



  • @jegga said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    Back to the OP , very sad news . He was the sort of player you wish was wearing your teams jersey every time he played against you.

    In more positive news Christian Leilafanos leukaemia is apparently in remission and he wants to get back to playing asap.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/89565318/brumbies-star-christian-lealiifano-in-recovery-from-leukaemia-after-bone-marrow-transplant

    Tragic about Vickermann. What can you say about that. Wife and kids too. You have to think that this was a spur of the moment, lowest ebb kind of thing. Surely this is not something you'd do if you gave it alot of thought and considered the consequences? I don't know, it's just so damn sad.

    But that CL news almost brought tears to my eyes. That is so farking wonderful. Fantastic.



  • It does seem like we may never know what took DV. And either way, it's a hell of a shit thing to happen, and an absolutely tragic situation.

    But I can't help but think that it's not right to leave it undisclosed. I'm not saying that the public has a right to know, but what good does the keeping the information private do? I'm sitting here wondering, as I know many others are, and I've seen articles ending with lifeline numbers etc - which is suggesting suicide. But if that's the case, isn't it better to confirm it than simply have media speculating?

    What if it was another condition then - and undiagnosed heart issue, or perhaps something else which could have been prevented. Is it not better to go public with this and then maybe just save another few earlier than taken lives as people are better prepared?

    I'm not sure what my point of view is here of the finer details. Maybe more will come out in later days, maybe it won't. But I struggle see anything significant to the positive side for disclosing no information.



  • A few interesting articles about this I found via a Google search:

    http://theconversation.com/the-facts-about-safe-reporting-of-suicide-9501
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-02-16/weighing-up-the-risks-of-reporting-suicide/332616

    Basically the issues around reporting of suicides seem to revolve more around discussion of methods and details rather than a general reluctance to use the s-word.

    I think there's a balance to be struck here, and I agree we're currently a bit too tentative to talk about it.

    At very least we can include the fact that a person took their own life in reporting, though no-one needs to know any more details than that.



  • @barbarian yes exactly - I see no reason for elaboration of what happened, but I can't see why suicide / undiagnosed (or maybe it was) health issue can't be confirmed.



  • @MajorRage said in RIP Dan Vickerman:

    It does seem like we may never know what took DV.

    I thought it was common knowledge? Apparently, he rang a friend to tell him of his intentions.



  • @antipodean Not got access to that site - I did just have a quick read of the thread on GAGR and a couple of guys there have confirmed it (I think).

    Have seen no official confirmation though.



  • Dan Vickerman was driven to succeed. On the rugby pitch, in his studies, in business and family life.
    That life ended in the lonely hours of a desperate Saturday night, Vickerman having earlier called a friend to tell him of his ­intentions. It has stunned not only his former Wallaby coaches and teammates but others who came across his towering presence and intellect.
    Vickerman’s death may have nothing to do with rugby, a game he played for Australia in 63 Tests over a career interrupted by his decision to prioritise his tertiary studies at Cambridge University.
    Yet within the game there is shock and disbelief that the 37-year-old husband to partner Sarah and father of two sons has joined a tragic roll call of former inter­national players who have died that way.
    It was only three weeks ago Vickerman took a new job with an investment management firm, Newgate Capital Partners. Before that, he worked for Heathley Investments and before that, KPMG.
    Armed with degrees in business and land economy, active within the Rugby Union Players Association and supported by an extensive, well-connected network at his Sydney rugby club, Vickerman appeared ideally placed to make a successful transition to life after football.
    “It is a great shock to everyone,’’ said John Connolly, Vickerman’s former Wallabies coach. “He knew what he wanted to do.
    “All top athletes are very driven and he was very driven to success,’’ Connolly told The Australian.
    “He couldn’t have done anything more to be part of the team. He was very intense but never rubbed anyone the wrong way.’’
    Vickerman was an enormous man, standing more than 2m tall, he arrived in Australia from his native South Africa at the age of 21 and made his Test debut a year later. He played for the Brumbies and the NSW Waratahs and, despite losing matches to injury and three seasons to his studies, became Australia’s lock of first choice.
    “Dan was an uncompromising competitor who forged a wonderful international rugby career despite a number of injury setbacks along the way,’’ ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said.
    “He was an enforcer on the field and a much-loved character off the field. He cared deeply about the game and the players, helping players transition into life after rugby in his role with the RUPA following his retirement.’’
    RUPA chief Ross Xenos said players were united in despair at the news of Vickerman’s death.
    “Dan was universally respected by his peers and the rugby community during and beyond his playing days. Since retiring, he was very generous in giving back to the game through coaching and voluntary roles supporting players’ off-field development. We encourage all players who are affected by (this) terribly sad news to support and be there for each other and to contact RUPA if they would like to talk.”
    Vickerman’s death follows that of All Black Sione Lauaki from renal failure. Vickerman’s last post on Twitter was a tribute to Lauaki.
    Retired Wallabies star Ben Tune has spoken candidly of his own suicide attempt in 2009, when the collective weight of childhood sexual abuse, drug addiction and suffocating pressure to perform prompted him to swallow sleeping pills.
    Gearoid Towey, founder of Crossing the Line, an Australian initiative to help athletes transition to retirement, said in some cases sport was a form of medication for people unwilling to seek help. “Athletes are pretty bad at coming forward with problems,’’ Towey said.
    “That is a problem that goes way back because if you divulge a personal issue as an athlete, the perception is you could be putting your selection at risk.
    “Then, when the wheels start to come off in retirement, the pathways aren’t set up to ask for help.’


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