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The masterclass with James Hird that you are about to view has content that some people may find distressing. It is not for everyone. If you find yourself in need of assistance, please visit beyondblue.org.au or call The Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you’re someone who follows AFL (Australian Football League) you will know who James Hird is. If you’ve got zero interest in football, here is what you need to know in a very summarised form. He’s a football superstar who grew up within a family of footballers. All he ever wanted to do was play footy. He was drafted at 17 years of age and became captain of Essendon at an age when many of us were just cruising through our 20’s. He was a disciplined, elite athlete whose career was adorned in awards and accolades. After retiring as a player, he found himself returning to the club as coach, and he quickly gained a reputation as a respected leader of his team. He had it all; a strong and beautiful wife, 4 gorgeous healthy children - and the only career he had ever wanted.
What happened next resulted in months with media camped outside his home, his children having punches thrown at them, and more. A phone call accusing James of allowing his team to take performance enhancing drugs would change his life and that of the players, the club and all their families. James went to the bottom of the well and wasn’t sure how to fight his way back out. What comes next is a truly inspiring story of resilience and possibility. In this masterclass James talks openly and with great generosity about the loss of identity, the impact on his family and the work that was required to create a new version of himself for his future.