In this Sleep Seminar Series webinar, Dr Moira Junge was joined by former AFL player and mental health advocate, Tom Boyd, in a discussion about the experience of athletes, and the bidirectional impacts of sleep, health and wellbeing.
Struggling to cope in his first season in the AFL with the Giants, Tom attributed his problems to ‘home sickness’, a term that is loosely used in AFL circles when assessing a player that is struggling and has moved away from home. Upon returning to Victoria to play for the Bulldogs, he felt great in the initial move home, however there were still underlying issues that he was working through, insomnia being the biggest problem. Tom's mental health fluctuated which directly impacted his performance. Not even a drought breaking Premiership in 2016 after arguably Tom’s best football could stop the issues he was suffering as his insomnia and mental health hit new lows. Something drastic needed to be done in order to break the circuit.
In 2019, Tom made the decision to walk away from his AFL career, one which he thought would have spanned for many years. He knew that if he was to achieve happiness in life, this course of action was required. Tom shares his story with mental health and the techniques he used during his AFL career and continues to use in order to achieve happiness and balance. Tom communicates his story brilliantly to youths and adults as his story transcends across many demographics.