Sunday 11 December 2016

Pope hopes to help address mental health issues in rugby

Robin Schiller

Published 15/10/2016 | 02:30

Brent Pope jokes about as he gets his blood pressure checked by nurse Aoife Kiernan at the Laya Healthcare Mental Health Summit at the Aviva Stadium Photo: Mark Condren
Brent Pope jokes about as he gets his blood pressure checked by nurse Aoife Kiernan at the Laya Healthcare Mental Health Summit at the Aviva Stadium Photo: Mark Condren

Irish rugby pundit Brent Pope is currently studying a Masters in Psychotherapy in the hope that he can become involved with rugby unions to help address mental-health issues in the sport.

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The New Zealander, who has been vocal on the issue of depression and anxiety, was speaking at the Independent News and Media-sponsored Mental Health Summit about battling his own problems.

He told the large audience in the Aviva Stadium about his own experience with panic attacks and anxiety, which he refers to as 'half-empty heart' syndrome.

"There was a time in my life when I felt ashamed because I couldn't handle a certain situation and I would have panic attacks," he told the Irish Independent.

"We're only scraping the surface in terms of professional sports people and that's what I'd like to do.

"One week a player could be playing in front of 70,000 fans, the next he could be forced to retire from injury and forgotten about. That can be a huge come down for players."

Irish Independent

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