Rob Burrow: Living with MND: BBC Two release date of motor neurone disease documentary - who is rugby player?

Rob Burrow: Living with MND is a BBC Two documentary about the former Leeds Rhinos rugby league player’s life after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease

Rob Burrow: Living with MND is an intimate special documentary that explores the impact of a motor neurone disease (MND) on himself, and those closest to him. Burrow is one of several former rugby players including former Scottish rugby union player Doddie Weir, and the late South African scrum half Joost van der Westhuizen, to have developed the condition.

Rob Burrow: Living with MND
Rob Burrow: Living with MND
Rob Burrow: Living with MND

Who is Rob Burrow?

Rob Burrow, 40, is a former professional rugby league player who spent his entire career at Leeds Rhinos, making more than 400 appearances. Burrow also represented England on 15 occasions between 2003 and 2013. Weighing less than 11 stone, and standing at 5ft 5, he was known as ‘the smallest player in the Super League’ but went on to have a successful career with the Rhinos and entered the club’s Hall of Fame in 2020.

In December 2019, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.  He was awarded an MBE at the 2021 New Years Honours for services to Rugby League and the Motor Neurone Disease community.

What is Motor neurone disease?

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a rare degenerative condition that affects the brain and nerves, causing weakness in the body. The life expectancy for roughly half those of those with MND is three years from the onset of symptoms, although some people live with the condition for decades.

There is no cure for MND but there are a variety of treatments available which help to manage the symptoms. The condition eventually leads to death as the condition causes weakness of the mussels required to keep a person alive.

Symptoms of MND include weakness in the legs, slurred speech, a weak grip, and weight loss. The cause of MND is currently unknown, but recent research has suggested a link between playing rugby and developing the condition. A University of Glasgow study found that ex-rugby players had a 15-times higher risk of being diagnosed with MND.

Rob Burrow played for Leeds Rhinos for his entire professional career
Rob Burrow played for Leeds Rhinos for his entire professional career
Rob Burrow played for Leeds Rhinos for his entire professional career

What is Rob Burrow: Living with MND about?

Living with MND explores the impact of Burrow’s MND diagnosis in 2019 on himself and his family. Having lived with the condition for several years, Burron now requires 24 hour care which is normally undertaken by his family. The documentary follows the relationship between Burrow and his wife Lindsey and their children Macy, Maya, and Jackson, as well as Burrows parents, as they are all impacted by his condition.

It sees how Lindsey cares for her husband, taking him for a swim, and putting him to bed at the end of the day. NHS staff are also shown providing care and discussing his treatment. Meanwhile, Kevin Sinfield, Burrow’s former teammate and a close friend, rallies support in Leeds, the home of the Rhinos, who Burrow played for for 16 years, as well as in the wider rugby community.

Is there a trailer?

Yes there is, and you can watch it right here:

When is Rob Burrow: Living with MND on TV?

The special half hour documentary will air on BBC Two on Tuesday 18 October at 7pm. It will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer shortly after it is first broadcast.