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  • Alex Mills

An Open Day at Sporting Chance

I’m updating you all on the back of a very busy month at Sporting Chance, not only delivering our treatment services to those in need, but talking more about those services with a wide range of individuals from across the sporting landscape in the UK.

For those that attended either of the Sporting Chance Open Days which took place over 48 hours of glorious sunshine at our Hampshire HQ just after the Easter Bank holiday, a huge thank you for being there. We wanted to create an environment which would give us the opportunity to understand more about the particular sport you represent or the specific areas of mental health provision within professional sport that you care about and want to see addressed and developed. We certainly felt we got what we wanted from last week and we hope in return, you came away with a better understanding of our direction of travel as a charity and a full picture of the mental health provision in the sometimes complex field in which we work.

A huge thank you to those connected with Sporting Chance that spoke over the two days – to our founder Tony Adams of course, to Michael Bennett from The Professional Footballers Association, to Warrington Wolves Rugby League CEO Karl Fitzpatrick and to Greg Clarke, the Clinical Psychologist at Southampton FC. Sporting Chance therapists Billie Andrews and Sam Parrott both provided their own brilliant portrayals of the reality of working one on one with professional sportspeople as part of our national network of counsellors, professional sportspeople who will be experiencing many of the issues so eloquently brought to life in our athletes panel – Jack Bycroft from Southampton FC, former academy cricketer Callum Lea and last year’s flat racing jockey of the year, Ray Dawson. We’re also extremely grateful to Gabby Logan for hosting the second day for us.

The second of the two days was also, in part, a platform for us to set out our challenge to everyone involved in Professional Sport. As with most industry gatherings of this nature, whether open days or conferences or roundtables, there is a consensus around ‘much needing to be done’. For Sporting Chance, there remains some significant outstanding questions to be answered around the current state of mental health provision in professional sport; questions relating to its funding, its clinical rigour, and the ability for the individual groups that comprise ‘the landscape’ of provision to work collectively in harness to meet the need of modern day athletes.

These questions won’t get answered in one day or two, but the Open Days last week were the first steps in Sporting Chance taking responsibility for our part in this conversation, and it’s a responsibility we take very seriously indeed.

Alex Mills

Head of Education, Athlete Engagement & Communications


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