Barry Hall has opened up about the ‘identity crisis’ that threatened to swallow him up after he retired from the AFL in 2011.
The former St Kilda, Sydney and Western Bulldogs star said his weighed ballooned to 125 kilograms after his retirement, largely because Hall said he was simply ‘eating crap’ and ‘drinking every night’.
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While he was eventually able to get back in shape, Hall said the years after his retirement had been extremely challenging.
““When I retired I went through some real struggles,” Hall told the Herald Sun’s Sacked podcast.
“There is such a thing called an identity crisis, which a lot of elite sportsmen and women get. You wake up after you retire and you think ‘Who am I now’?
“I identified (as a footballer) for so long. I had a goal to get up and train seven days a week and all that is gone.
“All your structure is gone, your identity is gone. You fall into a state of depression - ‘What am I now if I am not that’?”
In the revealing discussion, Hall also discussed his notoriously aggressive on-field persona.
Barry Hall takes responsibility for mistakes
Hall said his temper ultimately led to the end of his career at the Sydney Swans.
The 43-year-old kicked 746 goals in 289 games, figures which should arguably be much higher had he not missed a substantial amount of games due to suspension.
After he was let go by the Swans in 2009, Hall said he began to make a more serious effort to control his temper, which included coming to terms with elements of his past.
“From the age of zero to seven is your programming as a child,” he said.
“I had a lot of underlying issues which I don’t want to go into too much, because I take responsibility for my actions as an adult.
“I don’t want to use it as an excuse.”
Hall attracted controversy after he retired as well, memorably being sacked by Triple M for an off-colour remark.
Nevertheless, he said all he could do was learn from his mistakes and press on.
““I have made mistakes and I have accepted responsibility for them,” he said.
“I have done some really crappy things that I regret, but it has put me in the position I am in now.
“I know exactly who I am. I am a big believer in creating your own environment so that I don’t have s*** around me. I only have honest people.
“They are not fake; they are all real and they have got my back.”