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HOW FOOTBALL HELPED ME COMBAT DEPRESSION

Loyd Mitchell tells us how Northampton Town Football Club helped changed his life

1 August 2023

Community

HOW FOOTBALL HELPED ME COMBAT DEPRESSION

Loyd Mitchell tells us how Northampton Town Football Club helped changed his life

1 August 2023

Since joining our Every Player Counts programme, Loyd has turned around his issues both physically and mentally and now volunteers as a coach on our disability programme. Read his story below.

"Back in 2012 I was informed about Northampton Town’s involvement with community projects via The Bridge. I was introduced to Russell Lewis and a weekly football training session.

"I became heavily involved with this project over four years, participating in the weekly training sessions, tournaments and with the creation of an 11 a side squad that participated in weekly evening league games. I thoroughly enjoyed all of this but unfortunately due to a change of shifts with my full-time job, I was sad to say my good byes to Russell and the team mates who had become friends.

"Juggling full time work and hobbies became increasingly difficult with life becoming busier and I found myself doing less exercise, becoming less sociable and my mental health crashing with reoccurring bouts of depression and anxiety. When I first joined, I was in the middle of a long episode of depression and anxiety and my involvement with football helped me to cope and recognise signs and symptoms on how to deal with it. However fast forward to 2022 and I found myself overweight, not exercising and feeling like my mental health is declining. So, I decided to fall back on the coping mechanisms I learnt from my past involvement and decided to make a positive change.

"I started to conduct research on the Northampton Town Football Club website and read up on the community projects that the club were involved in. Due to working at Northampton General Hospital, I work shifts, but the Every Player Counts session fell perfectly on my day off. So, I sent a message and enquired if this is something I would be able to attend and made my way to the session. It had been several years since I last attended a session like this, so with my current state of mind I was even more anxious and nervous. However as soon as I arrived, I saw welcoming faces from years gone by welcoming me back and I felt like I hadn’t been away. Russell introduced me to all of the new members, and I absolutely loved it. I was hooked again.

"The weekly session of Every Player Counts gave me the focus to be mindful of what I ate and exercise that I could do during the week to improve my session when I played football. For those couple of hours once a week, I forgot any worries and everything else except football. It was amazing and I felt so positive and happy following every session. I had forgotten how much I love playing and how football can offer so much more with opportunities to meet new people and the personal effects it can have both mentally and physically. I was making healthier choices and feeling great.

"I wanted to be involved as much as possible and enquired if there were any other sessions I could join or help with. So, I was invited to attend additional Every Player Counts sessions and was introduced to NTFC’s Multi Disability teams. This was a personal changing point. These sessions have led to opportunities that I am so grateful for. I have now started my coaching journey with the club, attended various training courses and taken responsibility for coaching teams in Multi Disability games, against various BOBI league teams and Premiership clubs in a host of disability tournaments and festivals.

"Involvement with NTFC community projects over the past year has given me opportunities to attend various disability workshops and training courses which have led to various voluntary coaching opportunities. Including coaching alongside Russell and a small team of NTFC coaches to help implement new blind football training sessions. Working up close with a small team of highly experienced professional coaches and blind participants is an amazing opportunity I am grateful for, both personally and professionally.

"I have accepted that I may always have mental health issues but projects like Every Player Counts, coaching and volunteering with the NTFC multi disability teams has provided me with future learning and development opportunities that have given me the tools and confidence to deal with various challenges. In the past year I have struggled and going forward I’m sure I will at times, but my involvement in these projects has helped shaped the way I deal with my mental and physical health.
Football has given me the confidence, drive, and ambition to better myself. I am now so excited to see where my coaching journey with NTFC will take me.

"Thank you Russell, the community projects and Northampton Town Football Club."
Loyd Mitchell, Every Player Counts Participant

To find out more about our Every Player Counts sessions please visit: ntfccommunity.co.uk/every-player-counts1

For more information please email r.lewis@ntfc.co.uk


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