Danny Frawley’s heartbroken widow tells how the family had ‘no idea’ that the footy great suffered in silence as he hid his mental health struggles from loved ones.
The St Kilda AFL legend and former Richmond coach was killed when his vehicle crashed into a tree near Ballarat, Victoria, just before 1:30 pm on 9 September 2019 – a day after his 56th birthday.
He was pronounced dead on the spot, leaving behind his wife Anita and three daughters Chelsea, Keeley and Danielle.
Danny Frawley’s wife Anita (right) said she ‘had no idea he was suffering or what was going on’ with her husband’s mental health struggles
Nearly 18 months after Danny Frawley’s death (photo second from right, with his daughters and partner), his wife said it was a ‘raw and emotional’ time for the family
Nearly 18 months after his death, a new mental health initiative – Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk – will be launched during the second round of the Saturday night AFL season in his honor.
An emotional Mrs. Frawley spoke out in support of the cause and about the ‘subtle changes’ in her husband’s mood that ‘he couldn’t recognize’ that led to his suicide.
‘I had no idea, I just didn’t know he was suffering or what was going on. You’re there in your marriage trying to protect everything so obviously he hid it for a while, but then he had a complete breakdown, ” she told the Herald Sun
“But Danny was something else because when he collapsed it was a complete breakdown, there was no sleep or anything, but we didn’t really know what was going on.”
The horrors of that fateful September night are “still so raw and emotional” for Ms. Frawley – while encouraging others that it’s “okay to come out” and “be vulnerable.”
Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk is designed to address community mental health issues through a special round 2 tribute competition honoring the late Danny Frawley (pictured)
Frawley leaves behind his wife Anita and three beautiful daughters Chelsea, Keeley and Danielle
As the Saints prepare to beat Melbourne, she said the ‘Time 2 Talk’ message in honor of Mr Frawley (center) was crucial in getting people to open up and talk about how they felt
Ms. Frawley said that while the mental health problems can be ‘reversed’ with the ‘right help and medication’, people should continue to seek guidance and reach out to others.
As the Saints prepared to attack Melbourne, she said the “ Time 2 Talk ” message was crucial in getting people open and talking about how they felt.
St Kilda coach Brett Ratten revealed that the club has ‘a little bit of Spud in everything we do’ as he remembers his friend’s legacy.
The message to encourage more conversations for people experiencing challenges or mental health issues is one that Ratten is actively trying to implement with his team.
‘We want people to come out and talk about their situation, and you have to have the courage to do that. But it’s also about knocking on the door of those who are struggling, ”he said.
He understands that sometimes it can be up to the ’10th time they actually answer’ and reveal that they are not doing well.
When Ratten was fired as Carlton’s coach in 2012, he said that Frawley (pictured) went beyond his role as CEO of the AFL Coaches’ Association to “ reach out and make sure I was okay ”
St Kilda coach Brett Ratten (pictured) revealed that the club has ‘a little spud in everything we do’ as he recalls his friend’s legacy.
Even when Ratten was fired as Carlton’s coach in 2012, he said Frawley went beyond his role as CEO of the AFL Coaches’ Association to “ get in touch and make sure I was okay. ”
Rats said the AFL industry could become a high-pressure environment, but clubs need to keep an eye on individuals’ mental and physical health.
After his 16-year-old son Cooper was killed in a car accident in 2016, Ratten said he saw the power of the footy community as they rallied behind his family and helped them through their grief.
The devastating loss made inquiring about his team’s well-being a priority for the coach as he admits that “sometimes life isn’t easy.”
Frawley (pictured) was St Kilda’s longest serving captain until Nick Riewoldt overshadowed his record in 2014.
Nicknamed Spud because he grew up on a potato farm, Frawley played 240 games for St Kilda before coaching Richmond to the 2001 preliminary final.
He was St Kilda’s longest serving captain until Nick Riewoldt eclipsed his record in 2014.
He has commented on the AFL for Triple M, Fox Sports, SEN and the Nine Network – and also worked part-time as a defensive coach with his beloved Saints.
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