Rugby: Nehe Milner-Skudder reveals mental toll of injury struggles

Nehe Milner-Skudder has revealed he's seen a psychologist to help him deal with a series of setbacks in his career.

The Hurricanes winger's been plagued by shoulder injuries since making his debut for the All Blacks in 2015, when he took the rugby world by storm in a starring role at the 2015 World Cup.

Speaking ahead of Super Rugby's wellbeing round to raise awareness for mental health as part of NZ Rugby's 'Head First' initiative, Milner-Skudder's opened up on his struggles to get back on the field and the emotional toll it's taken on him.

"It was bloody tough," Milner-Skudder told Newshub. "My first shoulder [injury] I just broke down. I was just crying when I found out in the medical room.

The 28-year-old's first port of call was his loved ones, then professional help.

"That gave me the tools and strategies for how to deal with things. It helped me realise that it's part of the game. You go through injuries and part of life is you have setbacks.

"But it's about how you deal with it, reframe the way you look at things and put things into perspective. That helped massively for me moving forward, and with helping others going through the same thing."

He stressed the importance for all sportspeople to feel comfortable leaning on their teammates for support.

"That's what makes such a good team and a good core group of guy, when we can reach out to one another.

"We're all going through the same things, whether it's injuries or the pressure of selection or pressure to perform well.

"The more we can reach out and know that the other guys are there...that goes a massive way to making a successful team."

The 13-test All Black hasn't played since November, and still isn't sure when he'll be back for the Hurricanes this season. 

Milner-Skudder is the face of the new campaign, which is being rolled out across schools to help better equip children to deal with  

"It's hard trying to understand what young kids are going through now. But if we can get them to talk more and actually listen as well, then I think it will help with giving them a better life and make them a lot happier as well."