Prince William met with victims of sexual abuse within soccer at an event organized by charity Sporting Chance on Tuesday.
Sporting Chance helps current and former professional athletes with support for a range of issues including addiction, grief, depression and anxiety. William, 35, visited victims of child sexual abuse in Liphook, England.
William, a vehement supporter of mental health awareness, applauded the charity for helping to destigmatize mental illness. “I’ve always felt those young men get put into the situation where they have amazing feet, their skill with the ball is unquestionable, but everyone forgets about the rest of the body,” he said. “They forget about the head, they forget about how they have been brought up, about what they have been through.”
Sexual abuse in sports is not unheard of, but the tough mentality of athletes sometimes makes it hard for people to step forward without feeling judged. With soccer being such a beloved sport around the world, William believes in the importance of open dialogue.
“We need to normalize this a lot more in stadiums around the country whenever we can and people, fans, players, need to see that, the clubs, in particular, have a huge role in promoting that message,” William added. “It’s very damning on all of us that this has been brewing under there for a long time, these young men do not feel comfortable about some of this stuff.”
Sporting Chance founder Tony Adams agreed: “If you’ve got a bad knee I think, the FA would pay for that player to have his knee done. [They] should get him help for mental health. It’s exactly the same.”