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"Sometimes I feel guilty talking about some of the things going on in my head" | Alan Quinlan on Keith Earls

Keith Earls revealed to the Late Late Show last week that he has been living with Bipolar 2. Keit...

Cian Fahey
Cian Fahey

18:32 19 Oct 2021



Rugby

"Sometimes I feel guilty talking about some of the things going on in my head" | Alan Quinlan on Keith Earls

Cian Fahey
Cian Fahey

18:32 19 Oct 2021

Keith Earls revealed to the Late Late Show last week that he has been living with Bipolar 2.

Keith Earls has played 93 times for Ireland and 183 times for Munster.

Earls is a level-headed, well-rounded rugby player. He's a winger's winger with his popularity soaring amongst his fellow professionals over the course of his career. Earls' professionalism has made him one of the most well-respected players in World Rugby.

He has achieved all of that while living with Bipolar 2.

Earls has battled with mental health challenges over the course of his life. He received an official diagnosis and welcomed it when he did. Now he is speaking up so that those in similar positions understand they can receive help and they aren't abnormal for enduring what they are enduring.

On this week's episode of The Red 78, Munster's Alan Quinlan and Niamh Briggs gave their reactions to Earls' interview.

Quinlan played with Earls during his time at Munster.

"He was only a child when he came into the Munster squad," Quinlan said.

"I played with him for a couple of years, I played with and against his dad. I thought he was incredible, his honesty, his openness with the challenges and difficulties. It was a real reminder to me because I have spoken a lot about mental health.

"Sometimes I feel guilty about talking about things that were going on in my head. I worry that people think it was nothing. But it doesn't matter because we all view the world through our minds don't we."

Quinlan appreciated Earls willingness to talk about the challenges of being a professional athlete, but more so the personal challenges he has endured. Those personal challenges are relatable for everyone, not just the minority who play professional sport.

"I think it's just phenomenal, his honesty and bravery. It makes me really proud to be a Munster man."

Niamh Briggs echoed Quinlan's sentiments on Earls but expanded further to show how it impacted non-Rugby people.

"I actually watched that interview at home with my mum," Briggs said.

"She doesn't know much about rugby, she follows it because I play it. I looked over at her and she was in tears. That's the profound effect that interview had on people.

"I've been a Keith Earls fan for as long as I can remember. He's absolutely electric. More than that, Limerick is a really small place. You can walk down the road and come across him walking the dog or with Edel and the girls. He'll always say hello to ya, he'll always ask how you're getting on. So for him as a person, an absolute gent of the highest order.

"To go out and do something like that is incredibly brave."

Earls has never given off signs of mental health issues in the public eye. He's a leader and mostly a reserved character in interviews. And that's key. His interview emphasized that mental health problems have no face or no prototype.

It's not just that an international rugby player can face these challenges, it's that anyone showing any kind of personality or demeanour can secretly be battling themselves every day.

The Aware support line is available seven days a week on 1800-804848. You can call them between 10am and 10pm each day. Visit their website to learn more.

Do you have a question for Alan Quinlan and/or Niamh Briggs? You can get in touch with The Red 78 podcast by contacting us on TwitterInstagram or Youtube.

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

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