- Written by Catherine Rees
During Tom's career, he won 4 Premiership titles, 40 England appearances and 2 British and Irish Lion's tours. Tom Croft hung up his boots in 2017 as a result of a neck injury. Here he discusses what he went through when he was told he wouldn't play for Leicester Tigers again and how he secured a new job after his rugby career had ended.
Former England and Leicester Tigers rugby union player Tom Croft enjoyed a 13 year long rugby career, winning four Premiership Rugby titles and playing 40 times for his country.
But in 2013, he suffered a season-ending injury which would eventually force his retirement from the sport.
“In my mind I was Peter Pan and would go on forever,” says Tom.
“One afternoon the head coach said he wasn’t going to pick me anymore - he couldn’t risk the safety of my neck. I drove to a teammate’s house and just broke down. I went from one minute thinking I can carry on to that’s it you’re done. It was fairly brutal, it was quick, it was painful. The whole question was what do I do tomorrow?”
Leon Lloyd, Tom’s former teammate and CEO of Switch the Play, offered support.
“I asked Leon to help me get out of this slump. He advised that I devise a plan and start to build up my contacts but to be honest for the next three months I went against what he said just did an awful lot of game shooting and drinking.
“But then I started to think what was next. Leon made me realise that businesses appreciate the work ethic and skills of sportspeople. He walked me through a chart showing the different stages of transition out of sport that many like me experience. I was then able to identify the stage I was at and it gave me a positive boost as it showed me that I will come out the other side.
“It was through the contacts I made that I secured a job in housing development. I started at the bottom of the ladder, applying the skills and mindset I had in rugby to the working world.”
Tom’s advice to young players would be to “make sure you have a clear plan in your head about where you go next. Switch the Play can take their hand, show them the pathway and offer support.”
Tom is now a land manager at Davidson Homes.
Last updated 11/09/20