Tom Boyd was the country’s best young talent coming through the junior ranks, which had many in the public believe he could single-handedly change the fortunes and success of his club for many years to come.
This was a lot for a young man who had just finished his Year 12 studies to carry. Selected with pick one of the 2013 AFL Draft, by the GWS Giants, who were in the infancy of their existence, Tom realised at a very early stage of his days in the AFL that this career may not be what he had hoped.
For more than two years since publicly addressing his struggles with mental health and retiring from the AFL, Tom has shared his story in hope of shifting the conversation and having a positive impact on people’s lives.
In July 2019, Tom made the decision to walk away from his AFL career, one which he thought would have spanned for many years. With 2 years and $2million to run on the contract he had signed with the Western Bulldogs, Tom knew that if he was to achieve happiness in life, this course of action was required.
Now, Tom shares his story with mental health and the techniques he used during his AFL career and continues to use in order to achieve happiness and balance. At the age of 24, Tom communicates his story brilliantly to youths and adults as his story transcends across many demographics.
AFL Career:During his first season at the Giants Tom found himself struggling to cope and attributed his problems to ‘home sickness’, a term that is loosely used in AFL circles when assessing a player that is struggling and has moved away from home. Tom hoped that this was his issue and by returning back to Victoria all his troubles would be forgotten, so in an unprecedented move, the number one draft pick from the previous season was traded to the Western Bulldogs on a 7 year, $7million deal.
Returning to Victoria, Tom felt great in the initial move home, however, there were still underlying issues that he was working through, insomnia being the biggest problem. As Tom carried the burden of a big price tag on his head, at a club that had historically been an underachiever with one Premiership to its name, his mental health fluctuated which directly impacted his performance.
Not even a drought-breaking Premiership in 2016 after arguably Tom’s best football could stop the issues he was suffering as his insomnia and mental health hit new lows.