Hampshire fast bowler Chris Wood has joined gambling-harm minimisation consultancy EPIC Risk Management in his new role as a Pro-Sport Facilitator.
Wood recently opened up about his 11-year battle with a gambling addiction to the PCA’s registered charity, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, in conversation with Tony Adams of the Sporting Chance Clinic.
He has battled his addiction throughout a highly successful cricketing career, having helped his county Hampshire to win four white-ball trophies since making his debut in 2010.
He will be joining EPIC Risk Management, where he will look to share his incredible story and experiences to help others avoid the same path, working with countless professional sports teams throughout the UK.
The team at EPIC already includes former Northants bowler Patrick Foster, who opened up to the Trust about his own crippling gambling addiction last year, and has educated professional and academy cricketers alike on the dangers of addiction.
The announcement of Wood’s new employment comes during Futures Week, the PCA’s annual initiative which aims to shine a light on the area of career transition and personal development amongst PCA members.
“I’m delighted to be joining the fantastic team here at EPIC Risk Management,” said Wood. “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 PCA, 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.”
“This is a very significant addition to the team at EPIC Risk Management,” says 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.
Along with Foster, Wood will be joining fellow lived experience team members including:
Mark Potter (Head of Deliver U.S): A professional Rugby Union player from 1999 to 2011, playing in the UK and Ireland until a twelve-year gambling disorder eventually ruined his sports career.
Scott Davies (Lead Professional Sport Facilitator): Scott is a former professional footballer whose career was cut short as a result of a crippling gambling addiction that lasted for nine years.
EPIC Risk Management provides impactful and proven awareness, education, and risk management programmes for elite professional athletes, management teams, clubs, and governing bodies.
To date, EPIC Risk Management has delivered successful gambling awareness and education programmes across the Rugby Players Association, Rugby Players Ireland, Professional Cricketers’ Association, Rugby Football League, the English Football League, Manchester City FC, and Chelsea FC. Having covered subjects including gambling-related harm, betting integrity, where and how to access help, and how to spot the signs of potentially problematic gambling behaviour.