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Former POSH Defender Visits Football Development Students to Promote New Foundation for Mental Health in Sport

Former Peterborough United Defender, Bobby Copping visited students at Stamford College’s Football Academy this week to discuss details of the Bobby Copping Foundation that plans to provide unique mental health support to players, their families and staff.

The inspirational player, who is only 19 years old himself, was forced to retire from his beloved sport due to a head injury last month.

He said: “I want to try and help as many people as possible because I know from first-hand experience how low you can feel when something you have worked so hard for is taking away from you. In football, there are so many challenges you need to overcome at every age group, from being released to injury and the Foundation is going to try and provide support for not just those players, but also their families too.

“It has been really tough for my family and friends as well, but they have been absolutely brilliant in supporting me. Those that know me know that it is within my DNA to help people and although it has only been a few weeks since my life was turned upside down, when I say I am going to do something, I am going to do it and I am delighted we are in a position to launch the Foundation.”

The Foundation, that aims to help educate those entering elite sport to offer counselling to those who have experienced their world falling apart like Copping through injury and help those who have been released from sports clubs and are finding that hard to deal with and struggling with their mental health. With the plan to set up counselling and support seminars that will be delivered to athletes, parents, carers and supporters to help them go into their sport with their eyes wide open.

Bobby will work alongside Kayleigh Stent to deliver the programme. Speaking to Peterborough United FC he said:

“Kayleigh has overcome unbelievable challenges in her life and has been a huge support to me on the mental side of things. She has experience within that sector, and I am pleased she is joining with me in setting this Foundation up. Even helping just one person will make this Foundation a success and I am really looking forward to the future,”

Kayleigh said: “When Bobby and I sat chatting about all he has had to overcome in a very short space of time it got us talking about all the support there needs to be for people behind the tunnel, what about parents? What about all the staff? Before we knew it, we were talking about how amazing it would be to set up a Foundation to help cover all those ‘what about’ areas and support the work that was already taking place.

“When I was diagnosed with Cancer six years ago, like many, football kept me going, it was my ‘safe place’ my ‘normality’, but when I had to take time off for surgery my safe place was gone. I had the amazing support of the Football Club to get me through, but I noticed what support were they getting to help me, who did they have to talk to about it all?

“There have been many occasions within my role of safeguarding when I have needed someone away from the Club as an outlet, that’s what Bobby and I want to do with the Foundation, we want to be that unique additional support, that outlet, that safe space for someone.”

You can help support Bobby and Kayleigh by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thebobbycoppingfoundation

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