A SERIOUS injury ruled a west Cumbrian man out of his beloved sport but now he is nurturing the next generation of rugby league players.

David Whitworth of Little Broughton suffered a broken neck in February 2010 during a game for Ellenborough Rangers.

The rugby league star had played for a spell at Workington Town but his career was cut short by freak accident during a tackle.

“You don’t realise how much you miss it. Everyone knew me from rugby.”

He said that when the neck injury ruled him out of competition he “lost that identity.”

But earlier this week, Cockermouth Titans ARL announced that he will take over as head coach of the side and it is giving David a new role in the sport that means a lot to him.

“It’s nice to have something current in rugby to be involved in.”

David said: “It’s good as well to give back to rugby. It’s good to touch base with all those players and coaches who’ve helped me in the past, they’re now offering me advice on coaching.”

He has always had a hand in coaching the next generation at Cockermouth Titans but is now ready to take the helm.

“I had an injury when I was 25, 11 years ago now. At the time I did my level one coaching course but I never got back into it until Liam Wood invited me to come down and help on the coaching side.”

David has served as an assistant coach under previous head coaches like Dave Varty and Steven Reid, who he praises for helping him learn the trade.

“I’ve always steered clear of the head coach’s job. I wanted to learn and pick things up from other people but I think with having some more time out I feel more ready.”

He pays tribute to the support system in and out of the sport.

“You’ll meet the best friends of your life playing rugby league.”

Speaking of his wife Kristina Ingledew, he said: “Behind every good man is a good woman and she’s been very supportive of me taking this on.”

David’s first session stepping up into the role of headcoach at Cockermouth Titans took place on Tuesday and although it is slightly different at the moment, he hopes the return to training after lockdown will give players what he took from rugby league.

“It’s nice for them to interact, it’s a mental thing as well, everyone’s literally been in their own bubble. You can help them get back to normality.”

David added that although you can endure tough games playing RL, the positives outweigh the difficulties.

“Just enjoy the rugby, that’s all it has ever been about for me.”

Exciting times are ahead for the Titans.

“The season should have started back at the start of March but we’re hoping there’ll be some form of mini league. This season, I’m just seeing it as a platform for next season.”

The club has recently redeveloping their clubhouse during lockdown.