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AFP
September 29, 2020

Flintoff mulls over seeking help for ongoing bulimia battle

Sports

AFP
September 29, 2020

LONDON: England cricket great Andrew Flintoff is debating whether to seek professional help over his long battle with bulimia he says in a BBC documentary to be broadcast Monday.

The 42-year-old former all-rounder first revealed he was suffering from the eating disorder in 2014, admitting it had affected him through his playing career. The 79-times capped Flintoff has gone on to enjoy a successful career in television since retiring from all forms of cricket aged just 32.

He says in ‘Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia’ he may need professional help for the first time — he also wonders whether the eating disorder contributed to his relatively early retirement.

“I don’t want to be a statistic,” he said. “I don’t want it to be read that something has happened to me.” Experts estimate that at least 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom — of which 25 percent are male — have an eating disorder like bulimia.

Flintoff says being teased he was overweight in the nascent stages of his international career sparked his descent into bulimia. “I became known as a fat cricketer,” said Flintoff. “That was horrible. That was when I started doing it. That was when I started being sick after meals.

“Then things started happening for me as a player.” Perhaps the apex of his England career was his pivotal role in the regaining on home soil of the Ashes after an 18-year hiatus in 2005. However, his exploits on the pitch did not mirror a happy time off it as he says he would make himself sick. “Everyone was happy with me,” he said. “My weight was coming down. It was like: ‘I’m bossing this.’”