The Mental Well-Balling Podcast
S2, Ep2: Jake Forster-Caskey
We’ve got another fascinating guest for this episode of the podcast, who has been through some incredibly tough struggles over the past three years. Jake Forster-Caskey is currently recovering from a second ACL injury, suffered at the end of a season in which he felt he had found his peak again after recovering from the first.
It was actually Jake who encouraged me to get the podcast going again and call it quits altogether after the first series. Walking around The Valley’s pitch during the final game of last season, just after I had photographed him receiving his deserved POTY trophy, he asked about being interviewed for the podcast. That was an opportunity I couldn’t pass down.
It’s obviously taken some time for the interview to take place while Jake has gone through some of the more difficult stages of his recovery, but the strength he is showing at present to deal with the process he’s going through is incredible and shines through during our chat.
We talk about how signing a pro-contract at 14 meant that his first exposure to pressure and criticism was particularly tough to take, as well as the support he received from his ex-professional father and step-father at the start of his career and his perception of mental health and its status within the game. Although, of course, much of our chat is centred around his injuries. We discuss the challenge of coming to terms with that first injury, how isolating an experience it is being outside the football bubble and being isolated from your teammates while you grind through the recovery process and how returning to training and kicking a ball around again is actually the toughest part of the process. We also look at the importance of having alternative focuses during the recovery process, how the experience of that first injury has led to him being able to manage the second one more efficiently and with less anxiety, and the strength required to overcome the down days that you can only expect to exist through a challenging journey of recovery.
If you’re new here, follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram @WellBallingPod. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @K_AndrewsPhotos, and most importantly of all, keep well, keep safe, and keep talking about mental health.