To me there are only two sports where those taking part really put their life on the line when they take part in their chosen sport. Those two sports are Rugby Union and Speedway, most of you will have seen rugby players crashing into each other other from watching the Six Nations which is currently in progress or from the world championship which finished in November. You will know how little protection the player wear, and how hard they crash into each other, it is quite common to see a player with blood pouring from a injury or a player being helped from the field after some heavy clash. When you compare the rugby players level of commitment and physical impact in this contact sport it makes you wonder why they do it considering the injuries that happen to players every year?
If you wonder why a rugby player puts himself through such physical contact, ask yourself why somebody would ride a motorcycle that can accelerates faster than an Formula 1 car from a standing start, can reach speeds of over 70mph and…………………..has no brakes. A speedway rider will normally race in a race with 3 other riders, all looking to win, all racing at high speed all very close together. Serious injury is seen as part of the job (being a professional speedway rider is a job the same as being a professional rugby player). Talk to most speedway riders and they will read of a list of injuries they have sustained as long as your weekly shopping list and many of those injuries had the potential to be life ending or have life changing affects on the rest of the rider life. Many rider are seriously injured in the sport every year and their life changed forever, some even pay the ultimate cost and loose their life.
So having put there live on the line in there chosen sport it even more upsetting when you hear that a sportsmen has lost their personal battle and taken their own life. With barely 6 weeks of 2020 past both sports have lost a sportsmen, in Rugby it was a local amateur rugby player lost his battle with life (he may have only played at amateur level but his commitment was no less that a professional) and just over two weeks ago speedway riders Danny Ayres lost his fight with life. I am not going into their personal life but suffice to say that they both suffered from some form of mental illness and the it just became to much for the both of them. Both left partners and families which have been devastated by these events.
If you are reading this and living with a mental issue, maybe you have been fortunate enough to get help and support, but if you are struggling, then speak to somebody, anybody, ask them to help you get help, the first step is to tell somebody then you can start your fight back from mental illness, please do it.
Below is a video of the biggest meeting that Danny took part in, in 2019, the British Final, Danny was not going to win the meeting (the winner got the wildcard entry to the British GP, a round of the world championship), but he wanted to win a race for his mum who had died earlier and 2019 and had supported him through out his racing career, you can see the commitment he puts into the race and what it meant to him (Danny has the yellow crash helmet).
I hope that both sportsmen find the peace they were looking for and that there families can come to terms with what has happened.