A terrible reminder of challenges that footballers can face

It was very sad this week to see the story that Clarke Carlisle.

It was very sad this week to see the story that Clarke Carlisle, the former Burnley defender, was attempting to take his own life when he was hit by a lorry. Mr Carlisle told The Sun he had been left severely depressed by the end of his football career, financial problems, and the loss of a TV punditry role.

On BBC Sussex we were also struck by the story of striker Lee Fowler, who revealed his battle with addiction after scoring the winner for Crawley Town last weekend. He said: "I think I had too much too young as a kid. The talent has never changed but everyone has issues."

Both tales are reminders of the challenges faced by current and ex-players during, and after, their careers on the pitch.

Some are cut short by injury, some - as Fowler explained - have wasted their talent. We all face tough periods in our lives, but it is essential that there is help at hand. Work can be done by both the PFA and the clubs, and a strong support network can guide individuals through tough times. Whatever your age, any football fan will recall a player, often described as a "genius", who has struggled. Some, like George Best, sadly never overcame their demons.

The impression I get from my experience in covering the Albion, is that there is an infrastructure and a network to help. Youngsters seem to be given advice on the reality of the pursuit of a career in football. Current players are helped through serious injury. Ex-players are actively involved in organisations such as Albion in the Community to stay in the sport.

Let's hope there are less examples in the future and that everyone can enjoy the game we all love. You can find more background and details on help for issues at www.bbc.co.uk/actionline.