Former Leeds Rhinos player flies to Turkey for hair transplant to fix 'monkey's bum' hairline
A Rugby League player is back in the game after travelling abroad for major hair transplant surgery.
Ex-England player Shaun Lunt, who won a Grand Final with Leeds Rhinos in 2012, was injected 4,500 times in his head in the seven-and-a-half hour procedure in Turkey.
The 32-year-old was unfazed by the needles after previously taking to the field with an almost-fatal bout of sepsis.
Super League winner Mr Lunt was back on the field just three days after the operation in Istanbul on December 9, which involved doctors transplanting 4,500 hair follicles on the sides and back of his scalp.
He said the £1,600 procedure was the "best thing" he'd ever done after taking stick for his "monkey's bum" hairline for years.
Shaun, who currently lives in Mirfield and plays for Batley Bulldogs, said: "It looks really sore, but they numb you initially so it doesn't hurt when they're injecting you thousands of times in your head.
"Over the years, I've played with more injuries than anything and I've gone on to the pitch after having painkilling injections before matches.
"People say rugby players are brave, I say we're stupid.
"At my age, I don't have to do too much heavy work in pre-season.
"It's my 16th pre-season now, so I just need to do enough to keep me ticking over, but it's important I went back to training.
"Lingy [Batley Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard] has been brilliant with me and let me have the time off to go and do it, so I wanted to repay him really and not take the p*ss."
Shaun said he brushed off banter from his teammates who made unflattering comments about his receding hairline.
But after seeing the transformation by fellow pro Shaun Ainscough, who plays for Batley's Championship rivals Rochdale Hornets, Shaun was inspired to get his own transplant.
Shaun booked the procedure on a Saturday afternoon after looking it up online and was on the plane the next day.
He said: "I said the my wife 'what you doing on Sunday and Monday?' and she said 'nothing'.
"I told her 'you'll have to look after the kids I'm off to Turkey for a hair transplant. She just laughed at me when I told her.
"We've been together ten years now, she knows what I'm like."
He added: "My hairline was going back, I've always had thin hair.
"Lads would take the mick out of me in the changing room, saying my hairline looked like a monkey's bum at the front - a bald spot with a bit of hair around it.
"I expected to end up bald, so thought I'd get it done now before it gets any worse.
"It wasn't drastic, but I had a little bit of spare time and thought 'why not?'
"Shaun Ainscough had it done in Turkey and his hair looks brilliant now, so I thought I'd give it a go."
Now Shaun says other men with bothersome hairlines should consider looking into the procedure, too.
"I've had about 15 people contact me through Instagram and asking about having it done", he added.
"The stigma has gone now about cosmetic surgery. Women have had breast implants for years, it's a common thing.
"I walked round the airport and could see people who had their hair done.
"If it gives other people the confidence to do it, then brilliant. Hopefully I can inspire some people to get the courage to do it.
"I don't think people should be scared to do it."