Just over two years ago, Patrick Foster’s life came crashing down when he lost £50,000 on the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Fast forward to the present day, and the former Northamptonshire fast bowler now dedicates his life to helping people avoid making the same devastating mistakes that he did.
Foster, now of EPIC Risk Management, is currently working with the PCA to deliver workshops aimed at making players aware of how his innocent hobby turned into a life-threatening habit. The sessions are being funded by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, after PCA President Graham Gooch’s donation to the players’ charity was ring-fenced for the purpose in December 2019.
As part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme, the 32-year-old is presenting to every professional cricketer in England and Wales to share his eye-opening story with the current players. The initiative will further educate PCA members after Foster delivered similar sessions to the county academies last winter.
Many of the current playing cohort will already be aware of Foster’s remarkable journey, after the Kenya-born man bravely chose to share his story with the Professional Cricketers’ Trust in January last year.
The workshops are another addition to the PCA’s mental health provisions for its members, after the player’ association and the Trust announced a partnership with Sporting Chance last week as another building block in that area.
PCA Director of Development and Welfare, Ian Thomas, said: “We are pleased to be working with Patrick and EPIC Risk Management in delivering these workshops as part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme.
“Patrick’s story is a harsh one but also an invaluable lesson to current players on the risks associated with gambling addiction.
“We hope that the players will take Patrick’s lesson on board and avoid finding themselves in a similar situation, whether it’s during or after their playing career.”
EPIC Risk Management’s Patrick Foster said: “It is amazing to be able to give something back to the Trust and the PCA by sharing my story and experiences to raise awareness of this increasingly relevant issue and educate players.
“Professional sportsmen and women are potentially more vulnerable than anyone and for them to understand why this is the case, be able to recognise signs in themselves and teammates and know what support is available and where to get it, is absolutely vital.
“EPIC’s ongoing relationship with the Trust and the PCA is something we are very proud of and I look forward to doing more work with both in the future.”
EPIC Risk Management is the world’s leading independent gambling harm minimisation consultancy. The company works across the highest risk sectors for gambling harm, and draws on lived experience to help organisations minimise the risk posed by gambling harm.