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A 20-year old footballer who once had trials with Manchester United took his own life after persistent injury problems halted his progression within the game.
Joel Darlington, described as an "exceptional talent", played for Wales at youth level and trialled with Shrewsbury Town before turning out for Welsh Premier League outfit Bala Town, where he was the academy side's top scorer in 2016/17.
His United trials ended when he suffered a broken arm, while in 2017 a more pressing issue saw scar tissue in his back stemming from a slipped disc.
The back complications could not be aided by physiotherapy, as per The Daily Post and it ultimately ended his hopes of becoming a professional footballer, as well as preventing him from pursuing a career as a fitness instructor.
Hearing the news about young ex Manchester United trialist Joel Darlington tragically taking his own life due to mental health issues due to a serious career ending injury! Absolutely heartbreaking. Mental health issues need to be taken seriously! R.I.P Joel, far too young- Kris (@KHall1992) August 16, 2019
This is terrible to see:pensive: 20-year-old ex Wales youth player Joel Darlington sadly took his own life on March 18 after battling Mental Health issues as a result from a spate of injuries ☹️- MindBall (@themindball) August 16, 2019
He was suffering from anxiety after enduring a serious long-term back injury
RIP Joel.:innocent: pic.twitter.com/yadbDoni1N
RIP Joel Darlington , more has to be done by the football association to help these young kids struggling not making it due to ability or health in the football world!- @MikeB316 (@MikeWright1982) August 16, 2019
The aftercare should be available to them throughout & afterwards!
RIP fella, no age 20 :disappointed_relieved: #mancpower
Joel, former pupil of Rhos Street Primary School and Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Ruthin, suffered from anxiety and dropped out of college as a result.
On March 18, a day after a positive conversation with his dad, he was found hung from a beam in his garage at his home in North Wales by his brother Kyran, who had forced entry.
An inquest, where his parents Shaun Darlington and Dawn Davies were not present, heard that several suicide notes were found at the scene.
Don't suffer in silence. It's okay not to be okay, and it's also okay to reach out for help when dealing with mental health.
Find support at the following organisations below.
CALM: 0800 585 858 (outside London: 0808 802 5858); Mind: 0300 123 3393; Papyrus: 0800 068 41 41; Samaritans: 116 123.
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