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Academy player care

Notts County Football Club Mental & Emotional Wellbeing Action Plan

We aspire for every member of our Notts County Football Club family, regardless of age or their stage in their journey, to serve as esteemed ambassadors for our organisation.

It is our objective that supporters can trust our players, whom they come to admire, to consistently uphold high standards of conduct, maturity, and integrity.

To realise this vision, we offer a comprehensive programme encompassing life skills, education, and additional support that goes beyond the technical and tactical aspects of football. This programme serves as the foundation for our commitment to mental and emotional well-being and player care.

Annually, the Academy Management Team conducts a thorough evaluation of our approach to mental and emotional health, player care, and our life skills programme. We identify workshops and seminars that will be conducted for players, parents, and staff from under 9s to B team.

These sessions are meticulously designed to promote the holistic development of all individuals associated with the club.

Up to this point, we have conducted sessions on a wide range of topics, including Social Media, Mental Health, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Anti-Doping, Nutrition and Culinary Skills, and Psychology.

We trust that the information presented in this section of our website will prove to be a valuable resource for players, parents, caregivers, and staff alike.

Should you wish to make a referral concerning a player's mental and emotional well-being, please do not hesitate to contact:

Greg Tempest - Player Care


Josh Bradshaw – Head of Education & Safeguarding


Concussion is an injury to the brain, resulting in a disturbance of its function. There are many symptoms of concussion, with common ones including headache, dizziness, memory disturbance, or balance problems.

What causes it?

Concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the head, but it can also occur when a blow to another part of the body results in rapid movement of the brain, for example, whiplash-type injuries.

Onset of symptoms

The symptoms of concussion typically appear immediately, but their onset may be delayed and can manifest at any time after the initial injury.

It's essential to remember that loss of consciousness doesn't always occur in concussion – in fact, it happens in less than 10% of cases. Therefore, a concussed player may not have fallen to the ground after the injury; they could still be standing.

Who's at risk?

Concussions can happen to players of any age. However, children and adolescents (18 and under) are more susceptible to brain injury. They also:

  • Take longer to recover
  • Experience more significant memory and mental processing issues
  • Are more susceptible to rare and dangerous neurological complications, including death caused by a single or second impact.
  • Other risk factors include having had previous concussions (which also increases recovery time) and being female.

How to Recognise concussion

If any of the following signs or symptoms are present after an injury, you should suspect that a player has a concussion and remove them from play or training immediately – with no return on the same day.

Signs of concussion – what you might see:

  • Dazed, blank, or vacant look
  • Lying motionless on the ground / slow to get up
  • Unsteady on feet / balance problems or falling over / poor coordination
  • Loss of consciousness or responsiveness
  • Confused / not aware of play or events
  • Grabbing / clutching of head
  • Seizure (fits)
  • More emotional / irritable than normal for that person

Symptoms of concussion – what the injured player might talk about:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Mental clouding, confusion, or feeling slowed down
  • Visual problems
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness / feeling like 'in a fog' / difficulty concentrating
  • 'Pressure in head'
  • Sensitivity to light or noise

Speaking to the player

To help establish whether a player is injured, you can ask them a number of questions. Incorrect answer(s) may suggest that they have a concussion. Some example questions can be seen below – tailor them to your particular activity and event:

  • What venue are we at today / where are we now?
  • Which half is it now / approximately what time of day is it?
  • Who scored last in this game / how did you get here today?
  • What team did you play last game / where were you on this day last week?
  • Did your team win the last game / what were you doing this time last week?

What to Do Next:

Anyone with a suspected concussion must be immediately removed from play.

Once safely removed from play, they must not be returned to activity that day.

Teammates, coaches, match officials, team managers, administrators, or parents who suspect someone may have concussion must do their best to ensure that they are removed in a safe manner.

If a neck injury is suspected, suitable guidelines regarding the management of this type of injury at the pitchside should also be followed.

If any of the following are reported, then the player should be transported for urgent medical assessment at the nearest hospital emergency department:

  • Severe neck pain
  • Deteriorating consciousness (more drowsy)
  • Increasing confusion or irritability
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Unusual behavior change
  • Seizure (fit)
  • Double vision
  • Weakness or tingling / burning in arms or legs

In all cases of suspected concussion, it's recommended that the player is referred to a medical or healthcare professional for diagnosis and advice, even if the symptoms resolve.

The FA has launched 'Concussion for players: lessons from the pitch' – a film aimed at raising awareness among players about the importance of recognizing and responding to symptoms of concussion.

Click here to watch the film "Concussion for Players."

Useful resources

Addiction can affect professional athletes in any sport, regardless of their perceived success, career stability, gender, or background. It's not confined to those who lead a party lifestyle away from the sports arena. People from all walks of life, including athletes, can battle addictive disorders. High levels of physical prowess and athleticism do not provide immunity to addiction.

Athletes face an increased risk of exposure to drugs due to various factors. They may receive prescriptions for pain management or injury recovery, feel pressured to enhance their performance, or succumb to external temptations that come with their profession. Additionally, the transition from a playing career to the "real world" can lead some athletes to alcohol, gambling, and various illegal and non-prescribed drugs.

Drug use often evolves into abuse under certain circumstances, and professional sports offer several paths and substances geared toward performance improvement and injury recovery. The use of banned substances, particularly performance-enhancing drugs, undermines the integrity of clean athletes and tarnishes the reputation of the sport.

Every footballer deserves the right to compete on a level playing field, knowing that neither they nor their peers have used prohibited substances, as defined by the Anti-Doping Regulations. The Football Association (The FA) is committed to drug-free football and collaborates with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) to protect the sport's integrity. The FA's Anti-Doping Regulations align with the World Anti-Doping Code (2015 Code), which sets global anti-doping standards.

Players can seek advice and guidance from various sources, including:

The Football Association (The FA): Visit The FA's website for comprehensive information on their Anti-Doping program, covering Testing, Education, and Whereabouts. They also provide resources like videos on drug testing procedures.



Tel: 0800 169 1863

Global Drug Reference Online (Global DRO): This resource offers information on the prohibited status of specific medications based on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List, helping athletes and support personnel.


Informed Sport: A risk minimization program that batch tests supplements to ensure they do not contain prohibited substances.


The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA): WADA is an independent international agency responsible for research, education, and anti-doping efforts. Players can access the prohibited List on the WADA website.

WADA website: Check the prohibited List details for substances and methods banned in football.

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD): UKAD actively combats doping in sport at the national level, ensuring compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. They maintain the UK's National Anti-Doping Policy.

UKAD website:

FRANK: A resource providing information on drugs, their effects, and legal aspects. You can seek facts, support, and advice on drugs and alcohol from FRANK.

FRANK website:

Text: 82111

Tel: 0300 123 6600

Sporting Chance Clinic: If you believe you've lost the ability to make informed choices about drug use, you can seek help from the Sporting Chance Clinic. They provide confidential support without judgment.

Sporting Chance Clinic website:


Tel: 0870 2200714

For more information and resources, you can visit the following links:

The FA Player Essentials:

The FA Anti-Doping:

The PFA Players' Anti-Doping:

Stay informed and maintain the integrity of football. Follow relevant organizations on Twitter:



Player Welfare is a vital component in assuring every player feels safe and happy when at the football club.

Our player care officer Greg Tempest will be available throughout the year should any player wish to book a welfare meeting with him to discuss any issues or concerns they have.

Player Care Officer:

Good mental health is vital for peak performance in sport. Mental health problems affect one in six of the population at any one time. Depression alone affects up to half of us during our lifetimes and affects every family at some stage. Despite this, many people are unaware of the symptoms of mental health problems.

Unsurprisingly, players known for physical fitness rarely talk about mental distress. Indeed many may not recognise what it is or know how to seek help for stress, anxiety or depression when it strikes.

The Sporting Chance Clinic, founded by Tony Adams, the former England captain who has written and talked about his own struggle with mental ill health and alcohol dependency – was set up to support sportsmen and women who experience similar problems and need professional help to overcome them.

Football is the beautiful game but it is also a tough game that makes huge demands on its players, it is important to remember that professional players are human beings not machines (Clark Carlisle).


The PFA has a 24/7/365 counselling telephone helpline service available to members.

In addition to the helpline, players past and present can access a national network of 90 fully-trained counsellors, all of whom understand the emotional roller-coaster that involvement in professional sport can entail.

The Union continues to offer support and funding to the Sporting Chance Clinic, allowing PFA members to receive residential treatment there.

The combination of these services offers current and former members a dedicated team of people and a safe and confidential environment to receive support and counselling.

The PFA Safety Net, is a place where you can get individual help and advice. It contains information regarding issues that people and players in particular, may have difficulty with from time to time.

You may be facing these same issues, register and log in to find out what some of these issues are. For confidential support, use the telephone number provided or the email facility (PFA Confidential Support) and somebody will contact you.



Tel: 07500 000 777

The FA

The FA, along with other bodies in both football and sport, has signed the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation, which is a framework setting out how sport can use its collective power to tackle mental ill-health and the stigma that surrounds it.

The charter aims to tackle stigma using the power of sport and recreation, emphasise the benefits to mental health and well-being of an active lifestyle and to encourage the wider sector to showcase best practice and to make real progress in tackling issues around mental health. The FA continues to work collaboratively with a number of organisations in this field.

One in four people experience a mental health problem in any year, which mean there are millions of people involved in grassroots football experiencing a form of it in some way. It is important football clubs at all levels appreciate this and know how to include people with mental health issues. The FA, along with its partners across the game, is encouraging players, coaches and officials to be confident and comfortable talking about mental health in the same way that people discuss physical injuries.

Mental health and well-being – Inclusion and anti-discrimination | The Football Association

Link: Useful Resources –

Crisis Support

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are concerned for someone else:

  • Call 999
  • Contact Local NHS Crisis Team – North East Lincolnshire Single Point of Access Team on 01472 256 256 opt 3 for mental health (24/7).
  • Call the Samaritans on 116 123
  • For a list of International Emergency Numbers and Suicide Helpline’s visit:

Sporting Chance Clinic

The overwhelming majority of people experience greater levels of stress during key life events. Moving home, births, deaths, illness, marriage and divorce are all examples of this.

This is equally true during significant developments throughout a sporting career: being released from a club, getting dropped or injured long term, suffering relegation or a chronic loss of form that lasts from one tournament to the next, the negative press coverage linked to you or your team. These are all times when stress levels increase. As people in the ‘public-eye’, sportspeople are more vulnerable to attack.

  • Visit:
  • Email:
  • Tel: 0870 2200714

Open Minds:

Care and support for people aged 16+ experiencing common mental health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety : Tel: 01472 625100


Kooth is a free online service offering emotional and mental health support for children and young people. Access via


If you are concerned about the welfare of a child 0808 800 5000 or

Young People Support Service YPSS Grimsby

Counselling and Therapy for young people aged 4 – 25 Tel: 01472 32694


Confidential advice and help for people with mental health problems Tel: 0300 1233393 or text 86463

Rethink Mental Health

Expert, accredited advice and information for anyone affected by mental health problems. 10am – 2pm Monday – Friday (local rate) Tel: 0300 5000 927


Support, Information and Advice on bullying, gangs, puberty, sexual abuse, alcohol, drugs or anything else that worries you as an individual.

24/7 or Tel: 08001111

Heads Together

Heads Together is a mental health initiative spearheaded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which combines a campaign to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services.

Heads Together | Join the conversation | Mental Health

The Academy offers life skills training to its players, aiming to help them become self-sufficient and independent individuals both in their everyday lives and in handling the specific demands of being professional footballers.

Within the Academy, we integrate life skills training into all our activities, with a particular focus on social skills, discipline, respect, self-control, organization, and leadership. These skills are seamlessly integrated into our football and coaching curriculum, supplemented by an extensive program of lifestyle seminars, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities.

Our current roster of seminars and workshops covers a wide range of topics, including equality, diversity, and inclusion, nutrition, concussion awareness, mental and emotional well-being, career guidance, psychology, financial management, responsible use of social media, anti-doping awareness, responsible gambling, and maintaining integrity.

League Football Education - Personal Development and Life Skills

League Football Education defines life skills as the essential abilities that empower individuals to effectively manage the challenges and demands of daily life. LFE's life skills strategy outlines a comprehensive program that encompasses both online and face-to-face delivery, encompassing various subjects categorized within seven key aspects of well-being.

For more information, please visit:

In the 2016 report titled "The Duty of Care in Sport," an independent initiative led by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson for the government underscores the central role of participants in the world of sports. It emphasizes the significance of gaining their unique perspectives on decisions and issues. Both the UK Sport and Sport England governance code emphasize the crucial need to identify, listen to, and genuinely consider the opinions of stakeholders, with athletes being a pivotal group that must be taken into account in this context.

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) enshrines the right of all children and young people to express their thoughts on what should happen and to have their viewpoints considered when adults make decisions that affect them.

To ensure that players have the opportunity to actively participate, be assured that their voices matter, and that their opinions hold value, the Academy has developed a comprehensive Participant Voice Strategy. This strategy encompasses several key components:

The Academy Player/Parent Voice Strategy includes:

The Player Voice initiative is ran by the Players, with the support of the Player Care Officer (Academy Manager until appointed).

The Player Voice committee are elected by their peers and is chaired by those elected in the Under 21 age group. The committee meet face to face every 6 weeks throughout the season. The elected chairs of the committee relay all information back to the Player Care Officer and Academy Manager.

A First Team player is also in attendance twice per season to offer an additional support to the committee.

The Academy Manager asks for each Academy age group to elect at least two Parent Reps at the start of each season. Once confirmed they are added to a contact group on WhatsApp so there is ease of access and information.

Across the season the Academy Manager holds meetings with individual Age Group Reps, Phase Reps and all Reps. Each of these meetings happens in the following schedule:

Age group – August / October / February / April

Phase – September / May

All – December / July

During meetings important information is exchanged, however the focus of the meetings is for the parents to give feedback to the Academy Manager on their experience of having a player within the group.

Before each meeting the Reps are asked to canvass feedback and questions from the parent group.

Staff at the Academy value the importance of encouraging player involvement, decision making and ensuring that players are listened to and that their views are valued.

The FA Football is a game for everyone, where anyone has the potential to make a difference. This may appear as a bold assertion, but we are confident in its veracity. Observe how football rises to the occasion when faced with adversity. It offers education and empowerment, serves as an escape and a source of enjoyment, promotes health and well-being, and underscores the significance of teamwork. With our new strategy for 2020-2024, we have a comprehensive plan in place. This strategy aims to make a positive impact on every community across the country. If we build upon the progress achieved in the previous four seasons, everyone can emerge victorious.

The FA Strategy

Inclusion and Anti-discrimination


The EFL is fully committed to ensuring that football is inclusive of all communities and remains free from discrimination. We are dedicated to promoting equality based on any protected characteristic as defined in the Equality Act 2010.–anti-discrimination/

Kick It Out

Kick It Out is the leading organization for equality and inclusion in English football. Operating across football, education, and community sectors, it strives to combat discrimination, encourage inclusive practices, and advocate for positive change. Kick It Out is at the forefront of the fight against discrimination for everyone involved in football—players, spectators, and those working in the sport.

Established in 1993 as the 'Let's Kick Racism Out of Football' campaign in response to widespread calls from clubs, players, and fans to address racist attitudes within the game, Kick It Out expanded its objectives in 1997 to encompass all forms of discrimination, inequality, and exclusion. Internationally, Kick It Out maintains close ties with the Fare Network and has received recognition as a model of good practice from the Council of Europe, the European Commission, European parliamentarians, and the British Council.

Level Playing Field

Dedicated to promoting a positive and inclusive experience for disabled sports fans, Level Playing Field firmly believes that attending and engaging with live sporting events have a positive impact on well-being. We work tirelessly at all levels to ensure that disabled fans have the freedom to access and enjoy live sports events.

Pride in Football

Statistics estimate that approximately 6% of the population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In the context of football, this equates to more than 2,000 LGBTQ+ fans at an average Premier League game or 5,000 at Wembley Stadium. However, more must be done to combat the homophobic abuse that is all too often heard in English and Welsh football stadiums and to make LGBTQ+ supporters feel truly welcome.

Since 2013, supporters at various clubs have taken the initiative and established LGBTQ+ fan groups to engage with their clubs in order to enhance their matchday experiences. Their focus includes improving steward training, incident reporting, signage, and generally promoting the visibility of LGBTQ+ fan bases through banners at grounds and club participation in pride parades, among other initiatives.

Pride in Football's mission is to share best practices, assist in the formation of new LGBTQ+ fan groups, and represent their needs and perspectives to football administrators and other stakeholders.


Stonewall is here to support all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, both domestically and internationally, so they never feel alone. We believe that we are stronger when united, and thus, we collaborate with organizations that help us bring about meaningful change. We have established a strong presence across Britain, within some of our most esteemed institutions, to ensure that our communities can continue to thrive and that individuals can reach their full potential. Stonewall is here to provide support to those who may not yet feel comfortable being their true selves.


If you have concerns about a child's well-being, it is crucial to report those concerns promptly. Inaction is not an option. It's also essential to remain calm, and if a child is present, reassure them that they are not at fault. However, refrain from making promises of confidentiality or specific outcomes.

There are six methods to report your concerns:

Contact your club or league's Designated Safeguarding Officer.

Reach out to your County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer.

Email The FA Safeguarding Team at

In urgent situations where you cannot contact your club, league, or County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer, you can seek expert advice and support by contacting the NSPCC Helpline at 0808 800 5000 or via email at

In case of an emergency where a child or children are at immediate risk, dial the Police at 999 or 111, or get in touch with Children's Social Care in your area.

Fill out the form below.

    NCFC Head of safeguarding

    Joe Palmer

    NCFC Academy Safeguarding

    Josh Bradshaw

    Academy DSO

    Mobile: 07876507180

    NCFC Academy Safeguarding

    Greg Tempest

    Academy DSO

    Useful Safeguarding Links:

    Safeguarding & Welfare:

    The EFL Youth Development Department works with Academies to maintain and enhance good practice, particularly in the years between and the buildup to the independent assessment.

    The department also provides help, guidance, and assistance to players and parents and works closely with other organizations, particularly the Premier League and Football Association, to further the youth development system.

    Youth Development Academy Players and Parents Handbook 2023/24.

    Direct support to Clubs is provided by a team of Regional Managers whose work is centrally coordinated.

    In 2012, the English professional game adopted the processes, principles, and criteria of the Elite Player Performance Plan with the aim of creating a world-leading Academy system.

    The fundamental principles of the EPPP include increasing the number and quality of Homegrown Players, creating more time for players to play and be coached, and improving coaching provision. There is now also a substantial focus on "Player Care," including Safeguarding and Education, within the Academy system.

    A system of measurement and quality assurance has been established, whereby Academies are independently assessed with resultant recommendations determining the category status awarded to each Academy.

    There are 4 categories of Academy. Category 1 to 3 Academies register players from the U9 age group through to professionals, whereas the Category 4 model is a late development model operating from the U17 age group upwards. Category 1 is the highest status of Academy.

    View our compaints policy by clicking here.

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