FORMER Dragons star Richard Parks is no stranger to isolation battling snow blizzards and freezing-cold temperatures on his latest world record attempt to ski across the south pole.

With another British record secured he returned home.

What he didn’t bank on was being locked in at home.

Confinement is not something that one of the UK’s greatest explorers is used to.

Like everyone else he has had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ and now he can’t wait to see rugby return.

Parks said this will be a vital step forward for Wales’ professional players, who have been under huge pressure ever since lockdown was first introduced in March.

“Change is always terrifying at first for all of us. It’s not in our nature or our psyche, yet the paradox is how good we are at adapting,” said Parks, speaking to the WRU.

“Lockdown has been a real rollercoaster for me.

“On one level, I felt very equipped for it and, of course, it’s given us as a family some really positive opportunities.

“On the other hand, it has been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

“For those sportsmen and women who have been caught up in the pandemic there will be some who will breeze through it, but for others it will have been a monumental wobble in terms of the level of anxiety which comes with playing professional sport.

“There is so much uncertainty around – when is the game going to start again and how is it going to look?

“There are real financial implications in the professional game and that will have an impact on the mental health of the players.”

Parks admitted that, looking forward, the game is at a crossroads as it looks to restart.

“There were big questions even before the pandemic,” he said.

“All the pandemic has done is accelerated the evolution across all sectors.

“The priority must be to look after the players and all the staff associated with the regions.

"There will be backroom staff and stadium staff who are all still on furlough who might not come back as soon as the players.

“As a society we only see the top few percent of the game, the 15 players on the pitch.

"There are hundreds of staff who service the vans and wash the kits, there are stewards and hundreds of other volunteers who are associated with the game who will be impacted by which direction the game goes.

“I think the game has a responsibility to look after all the people involved.

"Some of that will be around communication, some will be wellbeing and mental health and some of that will be making difficult financial decisions moving forward.”