When footballers call time on their playing careers, most decide between staying in the game – whether in a coaching, medical or scouting capacity, amongst others – retiring completely, or pursuing a role in the media industry.
However, Adam Davies could be a rare exception to the rule, with the Barnsley stopper insisting life after football may be spent offering help to people suffering with mental health issues.
“I’m 26 now and I’m starting to think about what I could do after football,” said Davies. “Growing up as a kid, my mum was a really caring person and wanted to help a lot of people out, so I think it’s embedded in me a little bit; I’m a caring person and I do want to help.
“You see it a lot more in football now that people are starting to talk and talk about their depression, so it’s something that I would maybe like to go into when my career ends.
“It’s something I think I’d be quite good at. In the changing room, at the minute, I feel like I’m someone that the lads can come and speak to. I’m always there to lend an ear, so it’s something that I’ve started to think about recently and, hopefully, I can dig a bit more into it and find out what qualifications I need.”
For a long time now, depression, anxiety and other forms of mental health have very much been a taboo subject – particularly among sportsmen and women.
More and more professional athletes have begun to speak out about their ordeals, reassuring anyone else in their situation that it is, indeed, OK to not be OK.
“The platform that we have as footballers – it’s such a big sport in this country and more people are coming out to talk about it,” continued the Reds’ goalkeeper.
“It’s vital for people who are suffering with depression and anxiety that they might see someone who they support or who is a hero to them, and then they can try to speak to someone and get things off their chest. It’s important that people like that can speak out, and I think it’s about awareness and spreading that as much as possible so it’s easier for people to speak about.
“You don’t want to be seen as weak. I think a lot of people who suffer from depression and anxiety just think ‘I’ll keep it to myself, not speak about it and try to get through it’. But people who I’ve spoken to and people who I’ve seen in the news who have come out and spoken about it, it’s made it a thousand times better, so they can deal with the problems that they’re having.
“The pressure of trying to perform at the highest level you can in front of thousands of people every week is going to affect people, but the more we can educate people, raise awareness and try to deal with the anxieties then it’s going to help massively. Hopefully, the EFL raises more awareness, it will help younger players and players who are playing currently.
“The more that the EFL can raise awareness, it’s only going to help the people who are struggling out there to talk and get things off their chest.”
Barnsley Football Club is working in partnership with the local branch of Mind Charity, as well as the national initiative. If you are suffering, or know someone who may be, from mental health, please visit Rotherham and Barnsley Mind or the official Mind website.