Episode 56 — David Shillington

David Shillington
Photo courtesy of David Shillington

This week on SportsParenthood, you’ll meet David Shillington, a former professional rugby league front rower, who’s played 215 first grade games for the Sydney Roosters, Canberra Raiders and Gold Coast Titans, along with representing Queensland in the State of Origin and Australia.

You’ll hear David fondly recount his first experience with a counsellor, back in his early playing days, which proved to be a turning point in opening up the conversation on mental health which he carried throughout his playing career, and now into life after sport.

On the show, David shares some of his own struggles in the hope it helps normalise the discussion around mental health for athletes, and for all of us. While he says sport is about wonderful stories of success, it is also about wonderful stories of overcoming setbacks. 

Growing up in Brisbane, David is one of four boys in the Shillington family, where sport of all kinds was encouraged, and the backyard became the place where the siblings bonded over tackles and makeshift matches. 

Going into professional rugby league wasn’t really a thing back then. Once David found out he could get paid to play and have fun, that’s exactly what he wanted to do! Since retiring in 2017, David has been working in the mental health space and learning what it means to be a sports parent.




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