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'I'm just a normal person' says ex city footballer

PUBLISHED: 17:01 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 24 June 2019

Darren says the days have passed when he hated wearing a seatbelt because it creased his shirt    Photo Richard Kelly

Darren says the days have passed when he hated wearing a seatbelt because it creased his shirt Photo Richard Kelly

Archant

He's discovered he's not as fit as he thought, shared mental health worries and wobbles and admitted he used to refuse to wear a seat belt in case it creased his shirt - no wonder men confide in ex-city footballer Darren Eadie.

We may look healthy on the outside, but make the most of free health checks, says ex Norwich City footballer Darren Eadie   Picture Richard KellyWe may look healthy on the outside, but make the most of free health checks, says ex Norwich City footballer Darren Eadie Picture Richard Kelly

Feeling life's all a bit too much and no one understands?

Darren Eadie understands, and he's been there too.

The ambassador for the recent Menkind health awareness campaign from Norfolk County Council, former Norwich city footballer Darren spent months heading the call for men to look after themselves.

But he's been more than just a bossy figurehead telling men to go for free health checks, to eat healthily, to drive considerately, to reach out to friends or to head to the doctors as soon as they have any health concerns.

Ex city footballer Darren Eadie says sharing his own health concerns has led to men getting in touch to say he's helped them   Photo Richard KellyEx city footballer Darren Eadie says sharing his own health concerns has led to men getting in touch to say he's helped them Photo Richard Kelly

Darren has told his stories too, and opening up to readers about his own struggles with health and mental health has seen people reaching out to him, he says.

"The amount of people I have had contact me through social media saying 'thanks for sharing' and saying now they will do something. They admit they have been thinking about this issue or that issue and putting off getting checked out, and said now they will go and get checked," says Darren.

"You go into these things hoping it will have an effect and from the amount of contact I've had the Menkind campaign has been hugely successful," says Darren.

He's spoken candidly about topics including getting checked out for health worries - from prostate cancer to cholesterol checks - and freely admitted that he does struggle with his mental health and puts on his 'game face' when he has to work.

Former Norwich City footballer Darren Eadie tries hard to keep fit     Picture: Norfolk County Council.Former Norwich City footballer Darren Eadie tries hard to keep fit Picture: Norfolk County Council.

"But I am now more honest about what's happening and how I am feeling and I do reach out to family and friends," he says, adding that men have said his openness has helped them do the same.

"People have engaged with me saying 'it is nice to know that you suffer as well' and talked to me about themselves," he says, feeling relieved that men are starting conversations about mental health.

"I say I am a normal person, just because I have played football doesn't mean I don't suffer from the same things as other people," he says.

Darren says he's learnt to be more emphatic over the years.

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"In football you are very single minded, and a bit selfish because you are so driven. I think once you come out of it and you start to have issues you are far less judgmental," he says.

"Rather than saying someone is grumpy, it's taking a minute to ask them how they are - they are not moody for no reason," he says.

Daren points out that he does have struggles, but over the years he has become better at dealing with them.

"I admit that I have them and I can deal with them now.

"Life goes on," he adds.

The Menkind campaign was featured regularly in the Eastern Daily Press and covered everything from health checks and driving to alcohol intake and food. Darren wasn't as healthy or as fit as he expected...

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