AFL star Brock McLean opens up his four-year battle with bulimia – revealing at one point there was ‘hardly anything to eat’ to meet coaches weight expectations
- Brock McLean played 157 AFL career games and also battled an eating disorder
- The former Carlton and Melbourne midfielder often questioned his self-esteem
- Fellow ex-player Daniel Jackson also said he developed an ‘obsession’ with weight
Former AFL star Brock McLean has revealed his inner demons after battling bulimia for much of his storied career.
The ex-Carlton and Melbourne midfielder opened up about his eating disorder on ABC’s You Can’t Ask That, which airs Wednesday night.
McLean often forced himself to vomit after treating himself to some chocolates or lollipops, and at the peak of his career ate ‘barely anything’ to meet club-imposed weight expectations.
“I’ve had bulimia for three to four years of my career,” McLean said on the show.
Brock McLean (pictured with sister Ellie) fought bulimia ‘for three to four years’ during his legendary AFL career
It’s also a misconception [that] because players earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, they are not prone to depression.
‘I suffered in silence and pretended nothing was wrong. It takes so much of your energy because you put up this barrier. I would just go home, lie in my room and cry. ‘
Fellow ex-player Daniel Jackson, who was on the Richmond books, also revealed that he had an unhealthy ‘obsession’ with his weight.
He often stood on the scales before eating, and when he didn’t like his weight, he ate small portions of salad instead of a hearty meal.
Looking back at that time in his life, Jackson believes he didn’t enjoy his privileged lifestyle because it was “hard work.”
McLean, who battled an alcohol and drug problem and suffered from depression while a professional athlete, is proud of his performance on the field in a 157-game career, but admitted that his self-esteem had improved after retirement.
The former Carlton and Melbourne midfielder (center of photo) often punished himself by throwing up shortly after eating chocolate or lollipops.
The ABC show also featured insights from 2005 Sydney Swans premiership winner Jude Bolton and ex-rugby league stars Willie Mason, Ian Roberts and Dean Widders.
The quartet all agreed that there are gay players in both footy codes who have kept their sexuality a secret.
In January, singer Jack Vidgen, one of the draw cards on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! revealed he knows ’10 or 12 ‘gay AFL players off the shelf.
“I would never say their names, but they didn’t come out anyway,” he said. “It would be very difficult to get through in that industry.”
According to DNA, comedian Joel Creasey confirmed that he had previously been involved in an ongoing, casual sexual relationship with a player of the Sydney Swans.
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