Warriors stars given eye-opener by Wigan Athletic old boy

Former Wigan Athletic and England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has given an inspiring talk via Zoom video call to the Warriors players during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Chris KirklandChris Kirkland
Chris Kirkland

Kirkland has spoken in the past about his battles with mental health, which he says came to a head after leaving Latics in 2012.

Having got himself into a much better place now thanks to rehabilitation and therapy, Kirkland was more than happy to deliver a ‘different perspective’ after being approached by the Warriors.

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“Hopefully it helps the lads a lot," said Kikland, who has recently been named the new sports ambassador for Parkland Place – a rehab in North Wales for addiction in alcohol, drugs and gambling.

"We talk a lot more about mental health now – it’s the norm within society and I’ve been open about it.

“There’s a lot of people out there that are really suffering at the moment, but there are people that will help you and will go above and beyond for you.

“We’ve had to come up with a lot of different things during this lockdown period and I’ve done a lot of Zoom and FaceTime calls to different people.

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“A lot of things can happen in our personal lives that can set the ball in motion. When you are feeling down and sad, the biggest thing is talking.

“If we can take one thing out of this period, hopefully it will be to be kinder to people and to help people more.”

Tom Fitzpatrick, Warriors Player welfare manager, added: “It was to give a different perspective on what other people are going through at the minute.

"Although lockdown isn’t ideal and people are struggling, other people are struggling as well and maybe your situation isn’t as bad as it might seem when you put it into perspective.

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“We all know the good work Rugby League Cares does to raise awareness of mental health and providing support for players when they need it.

"But it’s always good to see how different players and athletes from different sports have coped with it – what their coping strategies are and their stories too.

“It’s been eight weeks – some people have coped really well; some people have struggled.

"There have been some great positives to come out of it – spending time with family, being inventive in ways to keep busy and Zoom video call has taken off too with quizzes.

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People are coming together through different methods that we wouldn’t normally do.

“I asked a series of questions through his career and how he coped with different challenges – looking at his high and low points in his life, his mental health and how it affected him throughout everything.

“He spoke about that and opened up. He was very honest. The players were then given the opportunity to ask him questions as well.”