‘I’m not the man I was a year ago’ – Brent Pope breaks down on air as he opens up about serious health struggles


Brent Pope opened up about how he feels “he isn’t the same man he was a year ago”, as he broke down on air discussing his serious health struggles.

he rugby analyst and author has received praise from the public after his candid interview with Marty Morrissey on RTÉ Radio 1 on Monday morning. 

He spoke openly about his “hellish year” and told Marty about how he has been in and out of hospital as he believes his immune system “has packed in”. 

Doctors have not yet figured out what the problem is, but Pope said it could, unfortunately, be serious. 

“It’s been a hellish year. It really, really has. I’ve ended up in hospital three or four times for various things,” he said.

“My arms look like pin cushions I’ve had that many needles in them. I’m still undergoing testing for a lot of things and unfortunately, some of them could be serious.

“I’m not the same Brent Pope I was 12 months ago.”

The New Zealander said his life has been “changed forever” and this is not due to Covid, but through the torment of trying to get a diagnosis, and not knowing whether there will be good or bad answers. 

“There’s been quite a few diagnoses along the way where I’ve ended up in hospital for ulcers and bleeding ulcers and then various stages of liver problems,” he said.

“I’ve got other symptoms now, I just got news today that I’ll have to go back into hospital again.

“I just had an endoscope last week and they just said ‘something’s come up on that so we’re going to have to have another look.’

“It’s as if my immune system has packed in. It’s as if this is a systematic attack. It’s not just in one place, it’s in a number of places.”

In the candid interview, the former rugby player opened up about his mental health struggles.

While sounding visibly upset as he spoke, Mr Pope said the current state he is in with being unable to get a diagnosis is “an awfully scary and lonely place to be”. 

He also said he struggled with his mental health when he was younger, and at one point wanted to escape the pressure of being in the spotlight as a New Zealand rugby player. 

Listeners flocked to Twitter to show their appreciation for the honest and powerful interview from Mr Pope. 

One person said: “Wishing you well Brent Pope there will be better times ahead. Thank you for your honesty & integrity.”

While another wrote: “Moving and brave interview with Brent Pope on RTE Radio 1 with Marty Morrisey this morning – absolute gent – it’s ok not to be ok #mentalhealth.”

And a third commented: “What an emotionally charged chat with Brent Pope, I hope he has support afterwards and Marty, you handled it very sensitively.”

Another listener said the interview was “uncomfortable listening”, writing: “That was very uncomfortable listening to #brentpope interview with Marty Morrisey. The poor man seems so sad.”

The sportsman entertained thousands of Irish people as a panelist for Ireland’s international matches, and has previously opened up about his crippling anxiety. 

He said he used to put on a brave face and felt ashamed for the way he felt, but now speaks to men all across the country about mental health and the importance of speaking about it. 

Online Editors

Source: Irish News