Former Wigan Warriors second-rower Chris Tuson discusses his life after rugby league
The 35-year-old was forced to retire in 2014 due to an injury to his back.
Tuson admits he wasn’t prepared for an alternate career but is pleased with the path he has now taken.
“It was a massive shock,” he said.
“I thought I had another eight years at least- I was 26.
“I tried to stay in the game a little bit but I wasn’t ready for it mentally.
“Looking back, I needed to walk away to enjoy what rugby is.
“It was all I knew, but staying involved was a poor decision.
“I work in software now, and I’m established in that.
“It’s funny where life takes you. If you told me what I’d be doing now, then I never would’ve believed it.
“Life is very different now but I’m in a good place.
“When I started my career in software, Wigan were one of our clients, so it was good to be involved with them.
“Looking back, I didn’t network in the way I should’ve when I was playing.
“One of the good relationships I made was with my agent, who had a couple of businesses- with one being a tech company.
“When I finished playing I went to work for him and studied full time.
“It was new to me, but it was a great opportunity.
“I got a leg-up from the relationship I made in rugby, which was good.
“Preparing players for future careers was sort of in its infancy when I played.
“They were putting on different courses such as sports science degrees.
“Playing rugby was my main focus, but if I had my time again I would make sure education was my priority.
“Rugby League Cares provided a grant for when I finished while I got my qualifications to put me in the position I’m in now.
“More and more players are putting a focus on education now and wider studies.
“Liam Farrell is getting a masters, which 10 years ago I don’t think it’s something he would’ve done.
“Rugby league is a really strange one. You’re in the public eye and make a good living, but it’s only like having a really good normal job with the average wage.
“You’re in the spotlight but you’re not a footballer earning millions, and at any point your career could come to an end like mine.
“It’s hard to tell a 22-year-old to go and read a book, so I understand that challenge.”
Tuson made his competitive debut for Wigan in 2008, and went on to make 83 appearances for the club.
One of his most memorable was the 2013 Challenge Cup victory over Hull FC.
“Playing at Wembley is the best thing ever, I get goosebumps when I think about it now,” he added.
“When you’re coming out of the changing rooms, the tunnel is on a slight incline so you can only see the first stand, and as you go up you can see the others.
“It sort of builds up this colosseum view of the stadium.
“When you run out the atmosphere changes, with all the fireworks going off- it’s a special moment.
“It’s all a bit surreal.”