From the cheers and splendour of winning, to the frustration and anger of losing, football is a sport that brings out the extremes of emotions.
These emotions are shared by everyone involved in football regardless of level, and can in instances lead to a greater impact away from the field of play.
Mental health has been an issue which the sport has begun to recognise in recent years and Michael Bennett, Head of Player Welfare at the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), knows too well the consequences of not dealing with any potential problems.
Michael had played for England at youth level before a serious knee injury curtailed his promising career, eventually having to hang up his boots at the age of 29. Reflecting on the time of his injury, Michael admits the lack of understanding around mental health prevented him from speaking out.
“I sustained a really bad injury in 1991 and there was concerns about whether I would play again.
“I suddenly had all these questions and fears going through my mind and I didn’t have anyone in the game to speak to about it. I wish I had someone from a footballing background to discuss the issues I was having.
“Looking back, I feel as though my career didn’t reach the heights it should have reached because I didn’t feel mentally right; I was concerned with getting injured. After my career ended I wanted to come back into football and offer a service which could help players like me.”
The issues of mental health are not only prevalent in the professional levels of the sport.
The grassroots level of the game provides a platform for people to engage in an activity away from their daily lives. According to Manisha Tailor MBE, the lack of resources within the amateur ranks are preventing people from exploring opportunities to develop their mental health.
“From my experience at grassroots and community level, there is a real lack of provision for adults with mental health to participate and engage in sport as a coping mechanism and recovery tool.
“It is extremely difficult for service providers to seek provision for those that they work with given financial constraints and low budget.