Twice recently I’ve been gutted in regards to the plight of an Everton player. The first was when Seamus Coleman broke his leg, it was horrible to see a player that you love in such pain and facing such a long time out on the side-lines. The second is, of course, Aaron Lennon. Except this is worse. A lot worse.
Give me a broken leg any day over what Lennon is going through right now. That’s not to belittle Coleman’s injury, who I’m sure has had to receive a lot of mental support himself, but Coleman has a definite future without his Injury. The future for Lennon is a lot more uncertain, and it’s a much more severe injury.
READ MORE: Football reaches out to Aaron Lennon
The outpouring of affection and support has been great to see, the world is clearly moving on and realising how serious and common mental health problems are. That is a double-edged sword in this situation however. While things are getting better, it’s obvious that Lennon, for whatever reason, didn’t seek the help he needed. Football has got better, but there is a long way to go. A certain newspaper mentioned Lennon’s salary in their headline, I didn’t see them doing that when Coleman got injured.
Metal health issues are an equal opportunities disease. It doesn’t matter what your wealth is, your status is or anything else, it can effect anyone. To know it has effected an Everton player is desperately sad, but I couldn’t think of a better club that could support a player in such a situation.
Football is irrelevant
All I hope for now is a future where Aaron Lennon is happy, and can put these issues behind him. Whatever specific issue he is going through, it’s a long road, but one that hopefully improves with time. My mind, and I’m sure many others, cast to another footballer who wore the royal blue, Gary Speed. It’s no joke, there’s no shame, and there should be no stigma. I’m just relived that police were able to reach Lennon in time before the worst could happen.
Whether he plays football again or not is irrelevant, it’s just no longer important. It’d be great to see him back to a point where he is running down the wing again, but there are many bridges to be crossed first. He needs support, and he’ll now receive the best possible. In the meantime football, sport and society need to keep improving and let people know that it’s okay to not be okay. That it’s not weak to speak.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that hopefully this will inspire people to ask for help. Inspire those who haven’t suffered through mental illness to educate themselves to be more informed. My thoughts are with Aaron Lennon and his family, and wish him a full recovery.