Professional Hampshire CCC cricketer Chris Wood has today joined EPIC Risk Management in a new role as a Pro-Sport Facilitator.
The 30-year-old, who has struggled with a betting addiction for 11 years, hopes to help others by sharing his ‘incredible story’ after linking up with the gambling-harm minimisation consultancy company.
Wood made his professional debut in 2010 for Hampshire against Oxford University and has since won four white-ball trophies with the club, enjoying a long and successful career despite his silent battle.
The former England Under-19’s international said: “I’m delighted to be joining the fantastic team here at EPIC Risk Management. After an 11-year gambling addiction, I’ve found the process of admitting to my problem and opening up about my experience a liberating one. I spent years in fear of opening up and I’m passionate to help others to speak out sooner, to seek help, and ultimately, look at ways to educate others to not get to the point I did with such a harmful addiction.
“I have been aware of the work EPIC have done, via the fantastic work they have done with Professional Cricketers’ Association, and I’m excited to be joining an organisation who passionately work to take the problem out of gambling through education, using our own lived experience and providing advice and support.
“Personally, this provides me with the opportunity to enhance my recovery, working alongside some brilliant people. I’m very much looking forward to contributing.”
In a Sporting Chance podcast with Tony Adams, he conceded he used to ‘sedate’ his feelings at the bookmakers but wants to prevent others from going down the same, unhealthy path.
Wood has already sought help from the Professional Cricketers’ Trust and will now join fellow former professional cricketer Patrick Foster at the team at EPIC, along with other sportspeople who have battled with betting addictions.
“This is a very significant addition to the team at EPIC Risk Management,” added Paul Buck, CEO at EPIC Risk Management. “Chris has carved out a highly successful career as a professional sportsman, winning some of the highest honours domestic cricket can offer and yet, has done so whilst battling a gambling addiction.
“We want to make athletes aware of the potentially destructive financial implications and health issues that out-of-control gambling can cause. To equip them with the knowledge and tools for them to make well-informed decisions, reducing distraction and maximising performance.
“To have an athlete of Chris’ standing, ability, and lived experience bringing this message to life can enhance our work, work that we passionately believe can save lives. It’s a real coup for us and for the work in reducing gambling-related harm.”