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depression battle Ireland international Richard Keogh says he was left 'in a really bad place' after pal's drink-drive crash

Keogh said he started to hate football and thought: ‘That’s it. I can’t be arsed to do it anymore'

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Richard Keogh

Richard Keogh

Richard Keogh

Republic of Ireland international Richard Keogh has revealed how he was left “in a really bad place” in the wake of his 2019 drink-drive crash. 

The 35-year-old who now plays for Blackpool in the Championship, was a passenger in Tom Lawrence's car, which crashed into the back of Mason Bennett's vehicle before careering into a lamp-post following a boozy team night out.

He sustained career-threatening injuries as he suffered extensive damage to the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee, both of which would require surgery and keep him out of action for over a year.

Following talks with the club, the then-Derby captain's contract was terminated on the charge of "gross misconduct" despite having not been driving.

Keogh confided to the Guardian how being sacked by Derby, coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown last year, left him in a really bad place mentally.

"I had a 10-day period where I was in a pretty bad place,” he admitted. “Everything got on top of me and I didn’t know how to deal with it.

"What they did to me made me hate football and I did say: ‘That’s it. I can’t be arsed to do it anymore.’

“Being the best husband and the best father is more important than being a footballer and if I had to retire to be that, then I would do it. But as (his wife) Charlie pointed out, if I retired, would I be happy and able to be that person? I had to come out the other side.”

Charlie also revealed her fears that he could have self-harmed.

“There were times when I went to bed with him downstairs thinking that I've got to go down and get a glass of water because he could have done something to himself,” she told the Guardian.

“I was going to bed thinking: 'Oh my God', getting that sick feeling. It was awful.”

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Keogh admits he was suffering with depression at his lowest ebb, but insisted he wasn't suicidal.

“I've had this conversation before. I wasn't feeling suicidal. I wasn't,” he said.

“Some days, I was in depression – I genuinely do believe that. But mainly I think I was right on the cusp of it. I was literally on the line for a lot of the time."

Keogh also revealed that he wasn't aware Lawrence had been drinking before he got in his car.

He added that his ex-team-mate has been “very remorseful”.

"I hadn't spent the evening with Tom," Keogh added. “I had no reason to believe he was over the limit. Everyone was in there before me so I didn't think: 'Hang on a minute'.

“It was just: 'OK. I need to get home. Let's go." The next thing I know I'm waking up and speaking to the paramedics'."

Keogh's ex-Derby team-mates Lawrence and Bennett were charged with drink driving, given driving bans and community service.

After having successful operations on his injuries, Keogh was eventually snapped up by MK Dons in August of last year.

Back in May, Derby County were forced to pay the defender €2.67m in compensation after he appealed his termination and in July, he signed for Blackpool on a free transfer back in the summer and has started in nine of their 10 Championship matches this season.

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