Sheffield Wednesday: Family man Sam Hutchinson looks to the future
Nothing has ever been given to Sam Hutchinson in his life.
He has had to work hard for everything he has achieved.A long the way, Hutchinson has gone through some tough times.Nine years ago Hutchinson retired from playing because of unrelenting pain in his right knee. A chondral defect – effectively, a hole in his knee – grew so unbearable that it forced him to call it a day at just 21.Hutchinson suffered with depression and sought help at the Priory for mental health problems.But the Windsor-born player is a resilient person. His wife Jennifer helped pull him through and, after undergoing knee surgery, he eventually resumed his career with Chelsea 16 months later.There have been a few bumps in the road since those dark days but Hutchinson now feels mentally stronger.The 29-year-old, who joined Sheffield Wednesday on a permanent basis in July 2014 following a productive loan spell, was widely praised for opening up about his mental health problems in a round of interviews earlier this year. He told The Star: "I did the interviews to raise awareness. People come up to me a lot and speak about it (mental health)."I then have to try and be a counsellor for other people and it is difficult because obviously I am not trained in that. "I don't know what to say someone who struggles with it but I just tell them my experience. Hopefully I can help them in certain ways by telling them I have been through it and this is what I did."But it is a very individual thing. People suffer with it in different ways and people have to cope with it in different ways."Despite playing for one of the biggest clubs in the country, there are no airs and graces to Hutchinson. What you see with him is what you get. He is a friendly, warm, down-to-earth bloke.Yes, Hutchinson likes a laugh and joke as much as anyone but he is not afraid to speak his mind. He is brutally honest (sometimes too honest) and just tells it as it is. He spoke candidly regarding his personal troubles on BBC Radio Sheffield’s Football Heaven show as part of Time to Talk Day back last February.Hutchinson said: "It was very humbling the reaction I got but I didn't do it for that."I wanted to raise awareness for the people who are struggling quietly."It is a horrible thing to go through and experience. It is nothing to laugh about."When you are in it, it just wears you down and you can't be bothered to speak about it. You get to that point which is even worse."Sometimes it takes someone to speak publicly on the radio."Tyson Fury spoke a lot about it before one of his fights. He is such a big influence in the boxing world and globally you saw how many people reacted off the back of that."It can only be a good thing the more people with high profile like him speak out about mental health."Does Hutchinson still think more needs to be done to tackle mental health in sport?He said: "I can only speak about my experience. I got looked after by one of the best clubs in the world. Chelsea took me to the best places."It is difficult. One of my friends struggles with something and he spoke to the PFA (Professional Footballers's Association) and he didn't really feel that he got the best help that he could get."It is whatever suits you. "It is feeling where you have to want to change and you have to want to change something in your life."It is like a bad addiction. It is horrible and to get out of it is a long process."I don't think I will ever be out of it. I still think I will have those moments but now I know how to deal with it. Now I know how to cope and what makes me happy."His mood often fluctuates depending on how he and the Owls have fared on a Saturday afternoon.Whenever Hutchinson, who was frozen out by former boss Jos Luhukay in the first half of the season, is feeling low or angry, he tries to switch off from football. "I go and exercise in the gym to let off the endorphins," he said. "I like to go shopping, exercise and spend time with my family."I just try and take myself away from football."His three young children: Mila, Albie and Arnie have given Hutchinson a new sense of perspective. Describing himself as a "proper family man," Hutchinson said: "They (the kids) have calmed me down."I'm like them. I am a big kid. I am jumping around with them all the time in the garden."The only reason I came back to playing football was for my children so they can see me play football and the effort that I have put in. I want them to see the effort, hard work and determination I have shown to show what can be achieved. "No one can ever take it away from me that I have played in the Championship. I have had a career in football after everybody said that it was over."Everything is a bonus for me now."His children have, by Hutchinson's own admission, been his salvation.The no-nonsense 29-year-old, Wednesday's midfield general and a firm favourite among the fans, said: "It makes me feel proud that my little girl (Mila) and little boy (Albie) come to watch me play football. "Hopefully I am still around and playing when my other little boy (Arnie) grows up a bit more and they can all see me play."I am stubborn. I gave up (playing) once and I just won't do it again."I have got another nine years easy (of playing). I will go on until I am 38. One thousand per cent."Hutchinson's target may sound a tad ambitious given his injury track record.But he has defied the odds before so it would be foolish to write him off