O'Neill on Dozzell: It’s a Real Issue in Football
Thursday, 28th Nov 2019 18:10
Town general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill has spoken about how the club aims to help former midfielder and academy coach Jason Dozzell, who last week opened up about his mental health struggles.
The 51-year-old spoke to TWTD ahead of his court appearance last Friday where he was banned from driving for 14 months and fined having pleaded guilty to drug driving.
O’Neill appeared as a character witness at the hearing at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court and says the club will help Dozzell through his current problems.
“Most definitely,” he said in an interview with iFollow Ipswich. “That was one of the reasons for me being there on Friday was showing that support physically.
“It’s a real issue in general, not just at this football club, across the board. Professional football players maybe have this void in their lives from playing professional football, being out there at Portman Road playing in front of 25,000, 30,000 people week-in, week-out and being in and around their team-mates.
“And then all of a sudden when that’s not there, that’s a big area of their lives. These people are human beings so, while the club doesn’t in any way condone what he did, it’s not about that, it’s about trying to support these players and trying to turn [it into] a positive situation for lots of other people who are struggling at the moment with these kinds of issues.”
How does the club plan to help him? “I think first of all it’s got to come from the player. Like Jason has done, he’s recognised that he’s got some issues to work through and what we can put in place to help support that.
“We’ve out a massive programme together with our Community [Trust] at the moment to look at going out there and trying to help address some of these issues.
“I’m not sitting here saying we can fix every single problem because it’s such a big issue that I think it’s going to take a lot of time to really address and tackle some of these issues.
“But I can see some good from it. I can see Jason going into the local community and helping to talk to people, of all ages.
“This is not just children, not just adults, going into these situations and talking about his experiences and I’m sure a lot of people will be able to relate to that and try and put things in place before certain things have happened. It’s a bit about being proactive rather than reactive to it.”
Dozzell has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from fans, friends and team-mates over the last week.
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