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NRL Magic round targets men’s health

The recent NRL Magic Round (May 16 to 19) focused on men's health, offering thousands of fans free heart health and diabetes tests.

The initiative follows the premature deaths of cricket legend Shane Warne in 2022 and rugby great Terry Hill in April 2024. Both men died at the age of 52 following suspected heart attacks. 

Warne's death inspired the Shane Warne Heart Health Test campaign, launched at Melbourne's Boxing Day Test in 2023. This was followed by a similar event at the AFL Gather Round in Adelaide in April, with the two events delivering free health checks to more than 15,000 people. 

While the Melbourne and Adelaide events weren't advertised as men's health initiatives, 70% of those who got checked were male. The NRL initiative, a partnership involving the Queensland Government, SiSU Health, and Pathology Queensland, took a more direct approach to targeting men.

Queensland's Minister for Health, Shannon Fentiman, said: "The NRL Magic Round is a convenient location to offer these health checks, especially for Queenslanders who may not typically engage with the healthcare system.

"We know men particularly have lower engagement with the health system but are also higher risk, so we're encouraging Queenslanders to grab their mates and use Magic Round as an opportunity to access important health information and get a quick look over.

"By making these health checks easily accessible, it's a great opportunity to start discussions about heart health and promote the significance of maintaining a healthy heart, particularly for NRL fans who were recently shocked by the passing of rugby star Terry Hills last month, who also died at 52 of a suspected heart attack."

Broncos legend Steve Renouf, who is a board member of the North West Hospital and Health Board in Queensland, said: 

"Bringing health awareness to events like the NRL Magic Round is a game-changer—these quick health checks equip individuals with vital information to tackle potential health risks head-on.

"As a former NRL player, I understand the importance of personal health - these free heart and diabetes checks at the Magic Round allow attendees to check their vital stats and make informed decisions about their health.

"Men, especially, can sometimes sideline their health—but just like in rugby league, it's those who stay vigilant and proactive that come out on top; with cardiovascular disease still claiming too many lives, these checks are a crucial step in the right direction.

"High blood pressure might be the silent enemy, but it doesn't have to be—through these checks, we're aiming to bridge the gap between awareness and action, ensuring that more Australians stay in the game for longer."

How checks make a difference  

According to research based on previous initiatives, SiSU Health claims that 70 percent of people who undergo the health check are motivated to improve their health, with over 50 percent taking tangible action.

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