Wales rugby Grand Slam star Gareth Anscombe says players need more support over mental health
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
The important issue of support for rugby players who are struggling psychologically - due to injury, being dropped from their team or who are struggling due to factors outside the rugby game - are highlighted by Gareth Anscombe in an interview published in the Telegraph and Wales Online.
Anscombe states that:
"There is more money involved now and I think the sports psychology side of the game definitely needs to improve. There needs to more support given. We need to educate guys on how to deal with mental health struggles and the pressure that comes with rugby."
The piece also mentions that Anscombe’s former Cardiff Blues teammate Tom James suffered with depression for a decade. Anscombe also played with All Blacks centre Anton Lienert-Brown, who has had mental health troubles too. (You can read more about Anton Lienert-Brown's psychological journey and being vulnerable here.)
Our sporting heros are achieving great things and in the public eye. But they are people too, just like you and me, with hopes and fears, strengths and vulnerablities, good and bad life experiences. The ongoing pressure and scrutiny is so much higher than most us will experience - even for a short period.
Our mental health, wellbeing, emotionality and psychological robustness will vary with time and experience. The life of an elite sportsperson is not all good and without significant tests. When our sporting heros - or anyone we know - shows signs of not doing well mentally, they need us to be there to support, guide and help open the doors to good professional support. Then, any suffering and setback will be less intense, less long and less impactful than it would be otherwise.
Surely they and we all deserve that.