Cricketers still need a substitute plan if the sport is to reduce suicide rates, says WCCC boss


Despite efforts to reduce suicide rates in recent years, sportsmen and women still need more support to find a purpose when they retire, says Warwickshire County Cricket Club's Director of Cricket, Dougie Brown.

Speaking at a Birmingham City University City Talk, Dougie said: "When training Britain's next top sporting figures, we need to be sure that we're not just producing sportsmen, but that we are developing people who will continue to be successful in the next stage of their career.

"Cricket has the highest suicide rate compared with any other sport. People leave the sport and have no idea of what to do next. We need to better prepare people and give them a secondary skill."

Dougie joined a panel of leading Midlands sporting figures, including Dean Smith, Manager of Walsall Football Club, to debate whether the leadership skills that underpin sporting success can deliver results when it comes to business.

As Dougie explained, the Professional Cricketers' Association has worked hard with members to help them plan and prepare for their futures, but he still felt more is needed to raise awareness of depression across all sports.

Efforts from the PCA in the past few years have included a:

  • 24-hour helpline, where callers can speak confidentially to qualified counsellors and therapists
  • 'Mind Matters' wellbeing video series to help current and ex-players and their families recognise symptoms of depression and other issues like gambling
  • 'Stress free' mobile app, containing programmes such as breathing exercises to help reduce stress

Joining Dougie and Dean on the panel were Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England, and Jason Lee, double Olympic hockey player and triple Olympic hockey coach, who shared their own experience of sport, leadership and the unique challenges and pressures of leading a professional sports team.

Information on Birmingham City University's City Talks series and upcoming events

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