Home > Uncategorized > Not enough being done for Windass, Collymore, Speed, Enke and Co…

Not enough being done for Windass, Collymore, Speed, Enke and Co…

Bit of a sombre blog this one….

Is enough being done for those battling demons in football? This week I heard the worrying news that 42-year-old Dean Windass attempted to take his own life at the beginning of this month.

On the surface, perhaps top professional footballers seem unlikely victims of mental health issues. Generally, they are rich successful people, adored by numerous fans and living a dream lifestyle without a care in the world.

For me, depression in football came to the fore-front on November 10th 2009. German international goalkeeper Robert Enke told his family that he was off to training that day. The truth is, there was no training. In fact it was the beginning of the end – Enke stepped out in front of a train later that day and shocked the footballing world, committing suicide at the age of 32.

Former German International Robert Enke

It’s thought he had been suffering from depression for around six years but had never received any complete help. People suffering from mental health issues such as depression can often be very good at masking the symptoms.

The tragic death of Gary Speed makes this all too clear. Speed took his own life less that 24 hours after appearing on BBC’s Football Focus. Looking happy, care free and full of life – the truth was far from what was perceived.

It was around this time ex-Liverpool legend Stan Collymore had been signed of by radio station talk SPORT after suffering a severe bout of depression. He posted on his Twitter account: “I haven’t seen daylight for four days now (sleeping mostly 28 hours a day) but I’ve done a week of talkSPORT/Channel 5 prep work and a national newspaper column all in the eye of one of the most challenging, soul-destroying bouts of this cruel illness one could have.

“To those of you who see no way out of the darkness right now, there are millions of us struggling.

“If you are poorly now, please see your GP, call a friend and at least reach out to someone who can guide you through.

“If, like me, you have been there many times then you will know this…it’s bloody dark but the clouds ALWAYS lift, so do everything you can to help yourself through.

“Open up to help and the fog will lift. You are not alone.”

But the truth is it almost seems as if they are. As I said earlier in this blog – you wouldn’t imagine a footballer becoming a victim of depression but it seems an all too common occurence.

This week Dean Windass criticised the Professional Footballers’ Association for not helping retired footballers’ when there playing days have come to an end.

“We’re not the brightest but you play football all your life,” he said. “There are hundreds of footballers in the same boat after retirement, there is nothing to get up for in the morning.

Dean Windass

“I have cried every day for the last two years since retiring. Just over a week ago I hit rock-bottom and decided to end it all.

“I first took an overdose and when that didn’t work I tried to hang myself. I felt so alone and believed I had nothing to live for.

“People outside football think we have it all. But I was in a hole that I honestly didn’t know how to get out of.”

He ended by saying: ‘The Professional Footballers’ Association or the governing body need to help us.”

Surely, everyone else would agree.

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