Sam Hutchinson speaks out about his mental health issues after his injuries stopped him from playing professional football. His interview with The Sun reveals how he dealt with early retirement and encourages other players to speak out too.
Sam Hutchinson is an English Professional Footballer who now plays as a defensive midfielder for Sheffield Wednesday. He started his career at the age of nine for Chelsea Academy and made his debut in May 2007 at the youthful age of 18. A recurring knee injury forced him to retire at age 21 but significant improvements saw him resign in December 2011. His injury limited his appearances to three times in the 2009/2010 season.
Hutchinson, reminiscing on his hardships, told BBC Radio Sheffield, “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been now, with my kids”.
“I suffered with depression through it because you’re taking away something that I have done since I was seven, am here to do and would struggle to do anything else.”
Hutchinson explains how his love for the game was taken away from him and something he found it incredibly difficult to come to terms with.
“I mean addiction as an addiction to playing in front of a crowd. I’m a little bit of a showman and I need that to feel self-worth and things like that”.
“I pushed people away for a little bit but you need people around you, even if you don’t want to see them and you’re horrible to them, you need them because they are the ones that care”.
Sam Hutchinson fell out with his family and did not speak to them for over a year however he did speak to people about his Depression and dealt with it at the doctors. Hutchinson also struggled with insomnia, an issue that many patients with depression also have to deal with. He realises just how hard it is for people to open up and realises that many footballers struggle to fill the void in their life due to injury and retirement.
On the subject of mental health stigma he says, “I don’t think enough is done. There are campaigns to deal with depression after football but I think a lot more could be done”.
“There are underlying issues that need to be fixed in people to make them happier. I’ve got to a place where I am happy and I feel that I can speak freely about what happened. It should be the same for anyone else going through the same thing.”
An important point that Sam Hutchinson makes is the fact he did not speak out to receive sympathy but to raise awareness and encourage others to do the same. There is a lot of pressure on people to open up but it must be remembered that mental health is an incredibly sensitive topic that takes a lot of strength to discuss.
“Certain people aren’t ready to do so and they don’t want to speak about it and they shouldn’t be pushed to.”