Hampshire fast bowler Chris Wood opens up on gambling addiction

Hampshire fast bowler Chris Wood has spoken about his 11-year battle with a gambling addiction.

Wood has enjoyed a successful playing career, helping his county to win four white-ball trophies since making his debut in 2010.

The 29-year-old has opened up in a podcast with Sporting Chance founder Tony Adams about his problems off the pitch and how he has addressed his addiction with the support of the Professional Cricketers’ Trust and Sporting Chance.

“The problem had got to me and I could not deal with life on life’s terms,” said Wood.

“I was gambling every day and I started to get self-destruction thoughts, not necessarily suicidal thoughts as such but thoughts such as ‘do I have a place here’.

It has been an 11-year battle and I eventually feel in control of my addiction.

I am so grateful for the support of @CricketersTrust & Sporting Chance.

Please listen to my story with @TonyAdams 👉 https://t.co/2MjGjm1axu pic.twitter.com/99luN9KEpM

“I didn’t necessarily go to the lengths of thinking of ways that I could do it but the thoughts started to arise.

“All day, every day all I wanted to do was to sedate my feelings through gambling, I couldn’t do anything else.

“I have nothing to hide anymore, I am not scared of who I am. I like talking about my situation now because it gives me a sense of achievement of where I have come and it gives me a sense of power again that I can control my own thoughts and feelings.

“I am going to have to deal with this for every single day for the rest of my life and not get complacent.”

Adams founded the Sporting Chance clinic in 2000 to help sportsmen and women who were dealing with addiction, having battled alcohol addiction himself, and he outlined the positive work they have been doing alongside the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.

“For us, Chris’ story shows the importance of all the services we offer, starting with the education programme in clubs,” said Adams.

“Going into a first team environment, which the PCA [Professional Cricketers’ Association] first asked us to do last year, just one of those sessions can make a huge difference to someone’s life.

“It’s not just about a story, it’s about how experience can connect with a player who might be suffering or at least open up their minds to the fact it might be something for them further down the road.”

Professional Cricketers’ Trust director, Ian Thomas, described Wood’s personal journey as brave and inspirational.”

“The Professional Cricketers’ Trust believes Chris is the first cricketer to speak out on his gambling addiction while still being a professional,” said Thomas.

“This makes Chris’ story incredibly powerful, brave and inspirational. He has come a very long way to now be in a position to be so honest which I am sure will resonate with people who have faced similar situations.

One of the most powerful things I have ever done. Listening to these amazing people reliving their stories so openly and honestly brought me to tears. Huge thank you to all Sporting Chance staff for giving them all the support they needed to start again- https://t.co/bNQJXX34bG❤️ pic.twitter.com/UFQGF4JUsc

“Chris has put in a lot of hard work and persistence to reach this stage of confronting his addiction publicly and as he explains, it has been a long process with many setbacks before he has reached this point.

“Sporting Chance’s excellent care and support for Chris has been vital in reaching this point and if this story can bring one more person forward with a willingness to address the issue then Chris will have made a huge difference and potentially saved a life.”

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