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26th Apr 2017

Ronnie O’Sullivan explains how running replaced medication for him in inspiring ITV documentary

This is a must-watch


Inspiring stuff.

In 2009, whilst on patrol in Afghanistan, Marine commando Andy Grant was caught in a double IED blast. He suffered 27 injuries, and after a prolonged period of rehab, it was felt he had little option but have his right leg removed below his knee.

Throwing himself into extreme training and arduous sporting endeavours, the Invictus Games veteran set himself the formidable task of becoming the world’s fastest amputee over 10k. Paragon, to be aired at 10.40pm on ITV on Wednesday, follows Grant on his inspiring journey.

In the documentary, he takes advice from sporting icons like Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jamie Carragher and Scott Quinnell, on the road from recovery to sporting excellence. When speaking to O’Sullivan it soon becomes apparent how important running was and continues to be for the snooker legend – both physically and mentally.

O’Sullivan tells him:

“When I got into running, it kind of was like a release from all of the pressure and the anxieties that I was going through.

“And I’d been on medication and bits and pieces to try and control those anxieties… I found with running, and I was never a fan of taking anti-depressants anyway, so to find running and realise that running could take [the] place of a tablet, I just thought, ‘It’s up to me now whether I want the easy route or the one that’s a bit more effort, rather than dishing out pills or tablets.’

“You know, go out for a walk, go out for a run. Find a partner, commitment, and watch your life get better – watch your perspective on life improve. And that’s what running gave me, it gave me that outlet to kind of get rid of those negative thoughts or whatever was going on.

“A lot of my success on the table is the fact that I found running, and that’s why I say it’s so important to me. Healthy body and healthy mind is what makes champions.”

It must be stressed that although the act of running helped O’Sullivan to such a degree that he no longer felt he required anti-depression medication, every case is different and many people find medication to be a vital factor in their mental well-being.

Nevertheless, O’Sullivan’s experience highlights the important part that regular physical activity can play in an individual’s mental health, and Grant’s inspiring story is one not to be missed.