Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton has backed a Lifestyle Awareness and Education programme that is being piloted by LFE and Sporting Chance Clinic.
The organisations are working in tandem to ensure that Apprentices and Clubs have access to a seminar that focuses upon destructive behaviour patterns, lifestyle and avoidance of the pitfalls facing young footballers face when they enter the professional game.
The unique offering which provides information on addiction, the effects of alcohol, drugs and gambling on mind, body and performance. The programme also outlines warning signs for potential issues, guidelines for positive lifestyle choices and methods of support, should problems arise.
The sessions are also supported by a current or ex professional who has suffered with such issues first hand, sought help through the PFA and Sporting Chance Clinic and who hopes their experience can educate and benefit young players about what can happen.
This has proved a real hit with Apprentices and Clubs. And Barton, who dropped in on a recent session at his own Club to endorse the programme and offer the Club’s youngsters his personal view, has not been surprised by its success, he said:
“The types of issues that face young footballers can be difficult to deal with alone. So it’s about helping youngsters to try and make the correct choices in life, helping them understand the warning signs so that they can maximise their potential as players.
“It is a shame this programme was not around when I was a younger player because I regret that my career has been affected negatively at times by making the wrong decisions. I hope that by recounting my own experiences and problems, it helps our younger players make better choices.”
Chris Mordue from Sporting Chance Clinic, added:
“Going out to professional Football Clubs and facing these issues can only be a good thing. In my experience a lot of young lads do not feel comfortable talking about what goes on under the surface and the pressures they face. Add to that the possibility of becoming a professional sportsperson and these youngsters have a lot to deal with.”
“It helps that we can speak to the players and staff from a position of experience. It’s not about ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – ‘good’ or ‘bad’ rather an honest discussion and different view points. In tackling the issues now we hope that it can highlight lifestyle choices and the warning signs of addictive behaviour so that these youngsters can maximise their enormous potential and make the most of their opportunities in the game.”
“It has been an absolute privilege to join forces with LFE and enhance the already fantastic work they do. With ongoing support from the PFA and LFE we hope to continue this work within every Club in the Football League.”