Saturday 21 September 2019

Naoupu reveals impact of eating disorder

Sene Naoupu. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Sene Naoupu. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Ireland women's rugby star Sene Naoupu has opened up on how she battled with an eating disorder early in her career.

The New Zealander has been one of the Irish team's stand-out performers since making her international debut in 2015, winning the Six Nations the same year and representing the side at the 2017 World Cup on home soil.

Naoupu came to Ireland with her husband and former rugby player George, who moved to Connacht in 2009, but before she became an international rugby star, the talented back struggled with an eating disorder.

Speaking to RTÉ to mark Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Naoupu revealed how she developed a problem during her college years.

"It's something I was in denial about for a very long time," Naoupu said. "At that stage of my life a few different things were happening. I was training in a rugby academy and was studying at university. A whole bunch of pressures resulted in an eating disorder.

"A lot of my experiences before that culminated in that particular moment. Health professionals would agree that this sort of eating disorder was a form of control where other parts of my life were perhaps out of control. It was an interesting process to go through but one that I am extremely grateful for. I wish it upon nobody, though."

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