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My colitis didn’t stop me from becoming England Rugby captain

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Lewis Moody

Ex Professional Rugby Player and Crohn’s & Colitis UK Supporter

Former England Rugby captain, Lewis Moody was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2005. Opening up and talking massively helped and he urges young fans to do the same.


When Lewis Moody was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, one of the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease, he kept it a secret from his coach, his teammates and his fans. But over the years Moody found that it’s good to talk and opening up eased the psychological impact. He may have had to make some changes but that didn’t stop him living out his dream on the pitch.

Dealing with the impact

“Colitis impacted my muscle mass, appearance and one time during a flare-up I lost 10kg in two weeks. For a sportsman in the public eye, that is tough to deal with. That said, sometimes colitis can be invisible. Particularly the mental health impact and that’s what I struggled with the most.”

I loved my career so much and feel so privileged that I found a way to cope to keep on playing. Anyone with Crohn’s and colitis reading this – you can do the same.

Taking the weight off

“I wasn’t coping, I had to tell my friends. Telling my coach was a huge weight off, then each time, it was another weight off. Generally, people are kind and caring. If you have Crohn’s or colitis and do just one thing – I urge you to tell someone.”

Finding the humour

“Everyone has different coping mechanisms, but sometimes you’ve got to laugh. We joked at the club if I rushed off, it was for an emergency toilet break. The dark humour really helped.”

Managing diet

“For people with Crohn’s and colitis, one person’s diet can vary massively from another’s. But for me, being strict and slowly reintroducing foods to find out what irritated me was a big turning point in reducing the impact. I loved my career so much and feel so privileged that I found a way to cope to keep on playing. Anyone with Crohn’s and colitis reading this – you can do the same. Talk, find out what works for you and don’t let it stop you from doing what you love.”


Lewis Moody is a supporter of Crohn’s & Colitis UK

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