Nowhere to Hide

Tom Boyd

Nowhere to Hide
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Nowhere to Hide

Tom Boyd

Tom Boyd was the AFL’s No.1 draft pick in 2013. He was signed up by Western Sydney as their key recruit for the year. But Tom’s enormous talent and potential was clouded by what he thought at the time was severe homesickness.

In 2014 he persuaded the Giants to trade him to the Bulldogs, back in his hometown of Melbourne. But his feelings of anxiety, sleeplessness and isolation followed him south. What he was experiencing wasn’t homesickness, it was the first, debilitating stage of depression. Tom battled on without knowing what he was dealing with. As the most expensive player at the Bulldogs (his deal was a million dollars a year for seven years - huge for an under resourced club) he was a lightning rod for attention, and his every failure was examined and amplified by the media and fans. And yet he had enough raw talent to be one of the driving forces to get the Bulldogs to their first Grand Final in more than 60 years, and on that Saturday afternoon in October 2016 he was arguably the best player on ground. Without Tom they simply wouldn’t have won, and made a premiership fairy tale come true.

Yet premiership success didn’t help Tom any more than celebrity and money had done. In 2017 he hit rock bottom, and only then put up his hand for help. Tom retired in 2019, aged 23. He now spends his time advocating for mental health, and talking to businesses and organisations about the realities and pressure that young people are exposed to today that can wreak such havoc. His trajectory as a potential great of AFL who has been honest enough to publicly examine and explain his own issues with mental health give him a unique platform and credibility.

Nowhere to Hide takes us on Tom’s journey. Football is the backdrop, but it’s not a football memoir. It’s a book about mental health, honesty with yourself and what it takes to overcome depression and anxiety, and create resilience.

 

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