Premiership player Dale Thomas has revealed there were times he sat outside Ikon Park at Carlton in tears as he battled mental health issues that left him sad and hating football.
Collingwood premiership player Dale Thomas has revealed there were times he cried in his car before training as he battled mental health issues during his AFL career.
The now retired former Blue and Magpie, who is currently in the African jungle for I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, has opened up about his struggles amid a relationship breakdown during his time with Carlton.
The split from his partner meant he barely had the opportunity to see his daughter, Matilda.
Considered one of the game’s great larrikins, the 32-year-old showed a different side in a raw conversation for a podcast on the reality show.
“The lowest point was going through the split with the missus in pre-season, my daughter being sort of removed from my care and only being able to get there every second weekend at best at the start,” Thomas said.
“And then having to try and rock up to pre-season and at that point dealing with some issues about how I was feeling about myself and everything in life.
“Having to deal with that, while trying to be a professional athlete, at that point I didn’t really care. I was going to do the job but I hated it.
“There were times where I’d rock up to training and sit in the car in tears, then rock up and be court jester to try and hide it.
“I was liked for that but I knew I was being a fraud, so that ate away at me as well.
“I knew I was sad, I didn’t know what to do.”
Thomas sought professional help and credited Carlton for pointing him in the right direction during the toughest time of his life.
“I got back into a really good space and thankfully it was upwards and onwards from there,” he said.
“That was certainly the toughest 6-12 months of my life. There was just so much going on. You separate and then having to deal with going from seeing my daughter every day to not seeing her for weeks at a time …”
Thomas announced his retirement from the game at the end of last season after being advised by the Blues he wouldn’t be offered a contract for 2020.
He played 258 career games and was part of Collingwood’s 2010 premiership team.