The widow of Yeovil Town captain Lee Collins ended his life in March. He told Sky Sports News that more needs to be done to support low-level football players whose careers are about to end.
In the first interview after the tragedy, Rachel Gibbon stated that Collins had played 470 English football league games for Vale, Barnsley, Northampton and Mansfield. (EFL) During the game, she was afraid of what life would be like after playing football.
She said that the spirit of the game is to make the player a “strong man”, not to open up to mental illness.
Last month, after Collins was found dead in his hotel room in Yeovil in March, the coroner recorded his suicide verdict.
“I received a call from the police asking where I am, because I live in South Wales and she needs to send the local police to come to me. It was they who came to break the news to us,” Rachel said Sky Sports News.
“It hit me like a sledgehammer. When you received a call from a policeman like this-I explained that I had three children with me, and she said she could not tell me what happened, but I might want to take the children We took away for a while-so you immediately know this is a terrible thing.
“Before the police arrive at your door, there is still a little hope, maybe something else. It’s too backwards. Then you start praying that he might have a car accident or other equally terrible things. You will never think of it in the slightest.
“Especially for our 10-year-old, it’s very difficult, but all three children are struggling, especially with separation anxiety. Whenever I leave them, they want to know if my mother will come back because one day Dad went to work and never came home.”
Collins has contributed to the Professional Football Players Association (PFA) throughout his EFL career, but since he died while participating in the national league, his family is not entitled to the usual death allowance.
Collins’ commemorative contest will be held on Sunday in Stoke-on-Trent-organized by a former colleague of Vale-to raise funds for his family.
An open letter signed by his “friends and colleagues” was also sent to PFA CEO Maheta Molango On Sunday morning, there was a call for “extensive review of the current player health services provided by PFA.”
The authors of the letter emphasized what they believed were the lack of “player well-being, mental health, and post-retirement support” and accused PFA of failing to cope with the increase in mental health problems caused by the Covid pandemic.
It called on PFA to provide funds to welfare officials of all member clubs, improve the aftercare services of retired players, and provide all members with death benefits during service, no matter which league they participate in.
Rachel said: “All players play with players who are about to end their careers. For Lee, this has always been his focus. He has not naively thought that this will last forever. He has been following two. He’s been worried for three years. We’ll talk a lot. He doesn’t want to be coaching and management. He doesn’t want to take responsibility. He is too joking to take on these roles.
“He can’t do office work from 9 to 5, wear a suit and tie, sit at his desk all day. This is what he discussed with his closest friends and teammates.
“Li is extremely unwell. The people closest to him can see that he needs help. It doesn’t matter if you say it badly, but it’s true. As a family member and the closest person, what would you do? He is an adult technically A sound-minded person, so you can’t take him to the doctor and help him forcibly.
“That being said, Li has never had a doctor. He only has his club doctor, and in hell, it is impossible for Li to go to his club doctor to say this, this is where he is.
“I begged him for help, begged him to find someone to talk to. I know his manager, his closest friends and teammates have talked to him and asked him to help, but Li is Li, he must be a strong man.”
Rachel now calls on people in the game to more actively meet the needs of football players so that more can be done to help them move forward.
“They are not the big-name superstars who make big money, they are just ordinary people,” Rachel added. “They can live next door to you. Especially need to do more for those people. For Li, he lives in his salary package, so he doesn’t have a lot of savings to rely on.
“In general, football needs to help those football players more actively, rather than their current passive reaction.
“What happened to Li could be the worst. Obviously everything has reacted to it. If there is something in advance, be proactive-this is what these football players, these people need.”
In response to Rachel’s comments and letters to them from people close to Collins, PFA told Sky Sports News“We are still with Li’s family, friends and teammates, and we will continue to provide support to all those affected by Li’s death.
“Professional football can be a challenging profession. We have identified a wide range of specific areas of football that may have an adverse effect on the mental health of players. Career transitions-whether through retirement, injury or release-affect players and their It is a particularly difficult time for the family.
“We are committed to continuously improving our education and welfare support, which also includes evaluating the way the entire football supports players.
“Any member who needs mental health support, including problems inside and outside football, can contact us through our 24/7 helpline 07500 000777 or email us at [email protected]”
If you are affected by a mental health-related problem or want to talk, please call the toll-free helpline 116 123 to contact a Samaritan, or Visit website