PCA PRESS RELEASE
Hampshire bowler opens up on gambling addiction.
To see more articles.
Hampshire fast bowler Chris Wood has revealed his 11-year battle with gambling addiction and his road to recovery through support of the Professional Cricketers’ Trust and Sporting Chance.
The 29-year-old has spoken to Tony Adams in a Sporting Chance podcast where he explains how gambling had taken over his life to an extent he relied on betting to sedate his feelings.
Wood has helped Hampshire to four white-ball trophies since his 2010 debut where he played an integral role in his county’s maiden T20 trophy. However, he has explained success brought him off-field pain through escalating his dependence on gambling.
The former England Under 19s international is one of the first interviews in Sporting Chance’s new podcast series. Each month Adams will publish a series of interviews with people who have benefited from the charity.
“The problem had got to me and I could not deal with life on life’s terms.”
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust officially launched their partnership with Sporting Chance in March, to provide PCA members with mental health treatment and support after a record 85 PCA members – including 40 current players – were diagnosed with related issues in 2019.
The Trust is the associated charity of the PCA, created to support the lifelong health and wellbeing of the Association’s members and their immediate families when they need it most. Support offered by the Trust can range from emotional counselling to the provision of specialist medical equipment.
Wood recently became a father for the first time and supported the PCA through negotiations in his role on the PCA Players’ Committee as the Hampshire representative. In an open and honest conversation, he puts all of that to one side to reveal his fight with addiction throughout his entire career…
In excerpts taken from the recording, Hampshire fast bowler, Wood, said:
“The problem had got to me and I could not deal with life on life’s terms.
“I was gambling every day and I started to get self-destruction thoughts, not necessarily suicidal thoughts as such but thoughts such as ‘do I have a place here’, I didn’t necessarily go to the lengths of thinking of ways that I could do it but the thoughts started to arise.
“All day every day all I wanted to do was to sedate my feelings through gambling, I couldn’t do anything else.
“I have nothing to hide anymore, I am not scared of who I am. I like talking about my situation now because it gives me a sense of achievement of where I have come and it gives me a sense of power again that I can control my own thoughts and feelings.
“I am going to have to deal with this for every single day for the rest of my life and not get complacent.”
“For us, Chris’ story shows the importance of all the services we offer, starting with the education programme in clubs."
Professional Cricketers’ Trust Director, Ian Thomas, said:
“The Professional Cricketers’ Trust believes Chris is the first cricketer to speak out on his gambling addiction while still being a professional. This makes Chris’ story incredibly powerful, brave and inspirational. He has come a very long way to now be in a position to be so honest which I am sure will resonate with people who have faced similar situations.
“Chris has put in a lot of hard work and persistence to reach this stage of confronting his addiction publicly and as he explains, it has been a long process with many setbacks before he has reached this point.
“Sporting Chance’s excellent care and support for Chris has been vital in reaching this point and if this story can bring one more person forward with a willingness to address the issue then Chris will have made a huge difference and potentially saved a life.”
Sporting Chance Founder, Tony Adams, said:
“For us, Chris’ story shows the importance of all the services we offer, starting with the education programme in clubs. Going into a first team environment, which the PCA first asked us to do last year, just one of those sessions can make a huge difference to someone’s life. It’s not just about a story, it’s about how experience can connect with a player who might be suffering or at least open up their minds to the fact it might be something for them further down the road.
“Most importantly it’s about linking that session with the help that’s available, not just giving players a phone number but giving them some understanding and hope that a phone number might help them and what the next steps might look like. Players need to know, because of the work we’ve done with the PCA and the Professional Cricketers’ Trust to get this in place, whatever your issue we can work together to put the right help in place for you. It could be gambling, difficulties in your home life, maybe you’ve been feeling low for a while and you don’t why, whatever it is, we can help.
“We treat everyone the same, if you qualify for our services and have the courage to pick up the phone, you’ll get the same level of care – and that level is high, that is unqualified compassion and support to help you with whatever problem you are going through.”
Sporting Chance operate the PCA’s dedicated Confidential Helpline that is funded by the Trust – a 24-hour, 365 day-per-year support network available to all PCA members, whether they’re currently playing or retired and can be reached on 07780008877.
For more Sporting Chance podcasts, support and information please click here.
In 2019 alone, the Trust supported 123 PCA members and immediate families in medical, hardship and mental health problems, including Wood. If you would like to make a difference and support the charity you can donate via the button below.