Adam Johnson: Free wellbeing support for ice hockey fans at upcoming Sheffield Steelers game

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Nottingham Panthers Adam Johnson tragically died during a game against Sheffield Steelers last month.

Mental health experts will be on hand to support people at the Steelers game this Sunday (November 12) who are experiencing trauma after witnessing the death of Adam Johnson.

Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson tragically died during a hockey game at Sheffield's Utilita Arena after Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave’s skate cut his neck. The "freak accident", on October 28, was witnessed by an audience of around 8,000 fans.

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Sheffield Talking Therapies staff will be present at Sunday’s match with a dedicated wellbeing hub, giving people a space away from the rink should anyone feel they need it. Staff will also be on hand offering support and advice around managing trauma and wellbeing.

Adam Johnson of the Nottingham Panthers who tragically died in a game at Sheffield Steelers on October 28. (Picture: Panthers Images)Adam Johnson of the Nottingham Panthers who tragically died in a game at Sheffield Steelers on October 28. (Picture: Panthers Images)
Adam Johnson of the Nottingham Panthers who tragically died in a game at Sheffield Steelers on October 28. (Picture: Panthers Images)

An estimated 6,500 people will be at this weekend's game, and NHS mental health services have developed this specialist support package in response to concerns about how fans may feel about returning to the arena after the traumatic incident.

Sheffield Talking Therapies, run by Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, has created resources for people to access on their website prior to the event in addition to presence at the game.

Andrew Chester, clinical lead cognitive behavioural psychotherapist at Sheffield Talking Therapies, said: "It’s understandable that people may feel anxious about returning to Sheffield arena this Sunday. The events that weekend have had an impact on many people across our city.

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"But it’s important to take that first step. This is one of the best things we can do to help our wellbeing in the long term, because it helps us to process difficult memories and to move on, rather than getting stuck.

"Our team of experts from Sheffield Talking Therapies will be on hand to help, and we really encourage you to come and talk to us this weekend about how you’re feeling."

Fans lay their respects and lay flowers tributes at the Utilita Arena Sheffield, where Nottingham ice hockey forward Adam Johnson died during a game against the Sheffield Steelers.Fans lay their respects and lay flowers tributes at the Utilita Arena Sheffield, where Nottingham ice hockey forward Adam Johnson died during a game against the Sheffield Steelers.
Fans lay their respects and lay flowers tributes at the Utilita Arena Sheffield, where Nottingham ice hockey forward Adam Johnson died during a game against the Sheffield Steelers. | William Lailey SWNS

Last week in response to the tragic death of Adam Johnson, Sheffield Talking Therapies facilitated free, dedicated online wellbeing sessions which saw more than 600 people in attendance and receiving positive feedback.

A recording of the session is now available to all on their dedicated webpage for people to watch whenever suits them or whenever it will be most helpful.

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