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Promising 20-Year Old Footballer Took His Own Life After Persistent Injuries

Promising 20-Year Old Footballer Took His Own Life After Persistent Injuries

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.

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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.


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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.

Topics: Football, Football News, Manchester United, Mental Health

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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