RECENT EXAMPLES OF AFL PLAYERS FIGHTING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES:
TOM BOYD, 21: Eight months after starring in the Western Bulldogs’ grand final win, the big-money forward was on Wednesday granted a leave of absence to treat clinical depression.
He revealed he has been managing the illness for an extended time.
TRAVIS CLOKE, 30: Boyd’s teammate announced in June he is taking time away from the sport to deal with mental health issues, with coach Luke Beveridge saying Cloke hadn’t been enjoying the game. He is likely to return in the reserves this weekend.
ALEX FASOLO, 25: The Collingwood forward took a short break to manage depression, missing their round 11 match this year.
LANCE FRANKLIN, 30: The Sydney star forward withdrew from the 2015 finals due to a serious mental health issue. He returned to the field the following year, kicking 81 goals.
MITCH CLARK, 29: The key Demons forward stepped away from the AFL in April 2014 after a string of injuries, also revealing he had depression. He returned to play for Geelong for two seasons but was delisted in 2016.
BARRY HALL, 40: The ex-Sydney premiership captain Barry Hall revealed in April he had faced mental challenges in the months after retirement.
COURTENAY DEMPSEY, 29: The ex-Essendon defender revealed in May he felt “like a piece of meat” when he was delisted by the Bombers, with his depression adding to the devastation over 12 teammates’ doping bans.
SIMON HOGAN, 28: The ex-Geelong player revealed his struggle with depression in 2014 to educate younger players about mental illness.
CHAD FLETCHER, 37: Ex-West Coast Eagles midfielder Chad Fletcher revealed “dark clouds” hovered over him during his All-Australian year in 2004.
WAYNE SCHWASS, 48: The North Melbourne and Sydney great, who endured mental health problems in retirement, now advocates for mental health awareness.
NATHAN THOMPSON, 39: The ex-Kangaroos player spoke publicly in 2004 about his experience of depression. He’s since become an ambassador for mental health agency beyondblue to raise awareness of its prevalence.
Australian readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.