Former Preston North End footballer Clarke Carlisle has told how he made the decision that he “had to die” after being charged with a drink-driving offence, and later jumped into the path of an oncoming lorry.
The 35-year-old, the former Professional Footballers’ Association chairman, was seriously injured on the A64, near York, last December.
In an interview with the Sun he has now spoken of how he felt taking his own life would be “the perfect answer” to a series of problems he was facing.
The news that he was to lose his job as a pundit on ITV, three years after he was released by Burnley, caused Carlisle to go on a gambling spree and hours later he was charged with a drink-driving offence of failing to provide a sample.
He told the Sun: “I had to die. This wasn’t escaping or running away. This was the perfect answer. It made everyone happy and it ticked every box. I took two steps into the road and then jumped into the truck, like a full shoulder charge. I can remember that impact. Bang. Then lights out. I don’t know how long had passed. It must have been a few minutes.”
The former Premier League player spent six weeks in hospital after the incident, and was released on Friday. He said his time in hospital made him realise he was “incredibly unwell”.
“I ventured out of my room not as Clarke the ex-footballer, but as Clarke, a mental health patient,” he said. “That was the first step in my road to recovery.”
Since the collision, a host of footballers, former clubs, organisations and charities have used social media to send messages of support to Carlisle and his family.
Writing on Twitter Carlisle’s wife Gemma appealed to those suffering from depression to seek help, and said her thoughts are with the driver of the lorry that hit her husband.
She wrote: “Please if anyone is suffering ... know that it WILL get better. I can promise you that. Reach out to someone, anyone. You’re not alone.
“We send our love & thoughts to the lorry driver & family. It could have been anyone and Clarke is desperately sorry that it was him
“Suicide & depression is not selfish. It’s a serious illness where your world & reality are warped.”
The mother-of-two said the couple had decided to do the interview to tell the truth about what they had been through.
She tweeted: “We also want to highlight and create understanding for a lot of issues and feel it would be hypocritical of us to saying nothing.”
Carlisle, who is now undergoing counselling, was due to appear at Highbury Magistrates’ Court in north London last month to face the drink-driving charge, but the hearing was adjourned to a later date.