Emma Kirke, from Ossett, will make history on Sunday when she takes to the field for Wakefield Trinity’s PDRL (physical disability rugby league) team.
The 40-year-old will become the UK’s first ever female PDRL player during Trinity’s game against a Warrington Wolves Foundation side at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Although Emma has never played rugby league, she grew up with the sport in her blood, her father Bob having played for Hull KR and brother Ian forging a successful career at Leeds Rhinos.
She has gone on to establish her own business as a clinical nutritional therapist and osteomyologist, having battled against the effects of a car accident in 2000 and treatment for breast cancer.
Emma sustained permanent spine and nerve damage as a result of the accident and suffered from extreme pain, depression and eating disorders including anorexia.
But she was determined to fight back and after overhauling her diet and slowly introducing gym work into her recovery, Emma, who has a degree in Osteopathic Medicine and a doctorate in Osteomyology, made a remarkable recovery and is now helping others to improve their lives through her work with the Medicinal Kitchen.
Emma’s business provide bespoke specialised dietary requirement plans that include recommended foods, recipes and a fitness regime while also offering support and advice.
And working with injured sports people, together with her love for the game, led to her involvement with Wakefield Trinity’s PDRL side, who invited Emma to play a part in the team’s game at Warrington.
Emma said: “It is so exciting. I can’t say no to new challenges so I had to get involved.
“I used to play netball for Yorkshire and I never give anything less than 100 per-cent so I hope I don’t mess up!”
She added: “There are only three PDRL teams at the moment but they are all really supportive of each other and they are amazing.
“I think the sport will become really popular with both able-bodied players and those with disabilities and it’s so exciting that Wakefield Trinity are involved.”
The PDRL game will act as a curtain-raiser for Wolves’ Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round tie against Toronto Wolfpack on Sunday when another Trinity side will also make history.
Wakefield’s LDRL (learning disability rugby league) team will also face a Wire side in the world’s first ever game of its kind, to be played during the half-time break of the cup tie.