John Stankevitch was only 25 when a serious shoulder injury forced his retirement from professional rugby league.
In this first installment of a two-part interview, the former St Helens and Widnes forward, who is now head coach at Rochdale Hornets, tells Rugby League Books about the ‘therapy’ he gained from writing his upcoming autobiography ‘Being John Stankevitch‘.
With 125 St Helens appearances under his belt, John Stankevitch never envisaged that a single tackle at Wigan would end his career in such juddering fashion.
Stankevitch was just 23 years old when he collided badly with Wigan’s Craig Smith in a Super League play-off back in 2003.
He went on to make 22 appearances for Widnes in 2005, but he never fully recovered from the devastating blow that left him with nerve damage in his left arm.
By August of that year, he’d called time on a promising career and was left to find his own way in the big, wide world.
Now, nearly six years on, League Publications are preparing to release his autobiography Being John Stankevitch.
Rather than use a ghost-writer, Stankevitch opted to write the book himself. It was a process he now looks back on with great pride.
He said: “It was a bit of therapy really. It was good to sit down, have a look through time and consider what’s happened.
“It meant I could just go over things in my own mind, and come up with reasons why I did certain things.
“I was so low at points after retiring, I was almost panicking. I bought a bar after I finished playing at Widnes, which looking at it now was a ridiculous decision. Financially there was just nothing in it.
“There is no way I’d have made some of the decisions I made then if I’d have been in the frame of mind I’m in now.” [Read more…]