Dundee-born football star Charlie Adam has told how he used the sport as a way of coping with his father’s suicide.
The Scotland international only missed one game for Stoke City after his dad’s death in 2012 in the hope that immersing himself in the game would help him deal with the tragedy.
He said: “My brother was calling me and calling me. I answered the phone. He was in tears. He couldn’t really say it – ‘Listen, I’ve found dad in the bedroom’. It was just out of the blue.”
Charlie spoke out on World Mental Health Day in the hope of helping others going through similar experiences.
His dad, Charlie Sr, played for several Scottish clubs, including Dundee United, Partick Thistle, Forfar Athletic and Arbroath, and at junior level for Dundee Downfield.
The man who Charlie described as “this big, hard person” with a “soft heart” died at his home in Grampian Gardens, Dundee, almost six years ago.
Charlie Jr was four months into a four-year contract at Stoke when the tragedy happened and he threw himself into the game as a coping mechanism.
But then he fell out of favour with then-manager Tony Pulis and was told it was time to leave the club.
“That hit me hard,” he added. “I had a four-year contract and I’d played from the start of the season right up until that moment.
But at the end of the season he was forced to confront his grief.
“That summer was the most difficult. It really kicked in. I was going to see psychologists, people at the club were helping me, and they just put it into perspective.
“It’s always tough when the date comes round but I can talk about it now. I hope my experiences, because I’m in the public eye a little bit, can help other people.”