Tony Adams has urged worried sportsmen and women to call his Sporting Chance clinic for advice and assistance, with the coronavirus pandemic bringing sport to a standstill.
There was no Premier League or English Football League action last weekend after the top four divisions were suspended until April 3 and 4 respectively due to fears over Covid-19.
Footballers and other athletes are facing an uncertain future, especially those who will be out of contract at the end of the current season.
Arsenal’s former captain set up Sporting Chance in 2000 and provides services for sporting stars who are experiencing emotional problems or are worried about an addictive disorder, with cricket the latest to form a permanent partnership with the clinic.
“We are business as usual, we can get people to see you and we have Skype and this type of stuff so we have therapists at the other end of the line who can give you all the support you need,” Adams told the PA news agency.
“We all have different circumstances. They might need to pick up the phone and say they are scared and what am I going to do.
“It has been my saviour to be honest, I couldn’t open my mouth and talk about this stuff and now I am doing, because in my experience if you keep it in it is just going to fester and you will do yourself no good at all.
“It is a difficult time and I think we will see a spike in phone calls and a period where people are feeling very insecure.”
Sporting Chance has a long-standing relationship with football, with the Premier League, Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association all on board.
The charity, who offer sports professionals access to support for mental health and addiction issues, dealt with more than 1,200 cases across sport in 2019 and 653 were either current or former footballers.
Adams himself has faced his own battles and fought alcoholism which led to him setting up the clinic in September 2000. Now he channels his energy into Sporting Chance.
With no games to look forward to, the 53-year-old highlighted one of the problems thinking of hypothetical situations could have, with many debates happening over when football in England and other countries will resume.
“I am living today,” Adams added. “Those days of thinking about scenarios just used to play havoc with my mental health. We talk about ‘this happens’, ‘that happens’.
“At the moment we are in today and the Government line is we are not playing, so I am in that camp.
“If the Euros (Euro 2020) for instance doesn’t go ahead and the Premier League are able to finish the games then great, but I don’t think we should get carried away with anything.
“I would approach it day-by-day and everyone has to look at their conscience and say what is practical, what can we do here, what is the best thing for the industry and obviously the main priority is health.
“We have to look at that first, take the government call on it and as day-by-day goes on we have to take informative and educated decisions.”
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