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Tim Smith - Sports Stars and Their Mental Health

The Mad Chatter - Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tim Smith struggling with mental health issuesThe rugby league world was rocked recently when former NRL Rookie of the Year, Tim Smith, decided to walk away from the game after an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar formerly known as manic depression is a mental condition where sufferer’s mood swings can be extreme. Typically they have very high highs, and low lows.

Tim Smith missed training with his Parramatta Eels team mates. He eventually arrived and addressed his team mates after the scheduled training session. He told them he had returned to the paddock too early and needed to take some leave to deal with his condition.

From an outsider looking in, I think Tim Smith has been courageous in admitting he has a problem to his team mates and then the world at a press conference later that day. It is a sad day for Parramatta fans and the league community in general. However, by confronting his issues, Tim Smith will be able to better handle them and hopefully return in the future.

Smith has had a number of off-field incidents where he disgraced himself and his club, but was quick to point out that he was not using his illness as an excuse for his previous behaviour. He has returned to the Gold Coast to be with is family.

As a Parramatta fan myself and more broadly a fan of rugby league, I hope he can overcome this problem with the right treatment and I look forward to seeing him guide the Eels around the park in he future.

Smith’s announcement came after another talented half back, if not the world’s best, Andrew Johns announced to the world he was also suffering from a mental condition. It is encouraging to see sporting stars admit they need some help. They are in the public life and their strength will give other sufferer’s hope and the ability to come forward and receive treatment.

Good luck to Tim Smith and we all look forward to seeing him back in the Parramatta number 7 jersey in the weeks to come.

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