Richie Barnett was a former professional rugby league footballer of the 1990s and 2000s, playing for clubs in New Zealand, Australia and England. He developed myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) which forced him into retirement. He reports that he is 80% recovered now and works as a sport broadcaster and sports writer.
He played in the 1992 Pacific Cup, 1995 World Cup, 1996 & 1997 Super League World Nines tournament, 1999 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament, and was team captain for New Zealand as a fullback at the 2000 World Cup.
In 2000, he sustained a facial injury during a match and had to have surgery that involved having 10 plates inserted into his skull. He has stated that he would rather go through that surgery again, than live with ME/CFS once more:
“It was one of the most difficult and painful things I’ve been through, a complete facial reconstruction. But I would rather go through that again than go through ME. Hands down. Because you know there’s a start and there’s an end.”
Talks and interviews
- Sept, 2012, Living with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Undated, Richie Barnett Our Face of MECFS in New Zealand