PFA reveals huge rise in footballers seeking counselling

Data released by the Professional Footballers’ Association showed that 653 of its members had used therapy over the past 12 months, compared to 438 in 2018

Jim van Wijk
Saturday 04 January 2020 14:49
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A 24-hour helpline is available for PFA members
A 24-hour helpline is available for PFA members

The numbers of professional footballers accessing counselling services offered by the players’ union increased by almost 50 per cent during 2019.

Data released by the Professional Footballers’ Association showed that 653 of its members had used therapy over the past 12 months, compared to 438 in 2018.

The start of all of the FA Cup third-round ties this weekend will be delayed for 60 seconds to encourage people to ‘Take A Minute’ to consider their well-being.

A 24-hour helpline is available for PFA members, both male and female, which is funded by the PFA Charity and run by the Sporting Chance Clinic.

The PFA said that, of the 653 people who had accessed its services last year, which included 25 women, half were ex-players and 48 per cent were current players.

An additional two per cent were from people such as family members of players, whom the union had agreed to support given the circumstances of the case, including around bereavement.

Within the 653, 27 per cent of the issues were categorised as ‘low mood’, 17 per cent as anxiety, 16 per cent as substance addiction and 15 per cent as gambling addiction.

Other problems included seeking emotional support (10 per cent), relationship issues (five per cent), transition to life after football (four per cent), bereavement (three per cent), obsessive compulsive disorder (two per cent) and eating disorder (one per cent).

During 2018, a total of 438 PFA members accessed counselling services, of which 414 were male and 24 female.

The figures recorded during 2017 were 403, with 10 female. In 2016, it was 160 – all male.

PA

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