Former England Rugby star Kyran Bracken reveals OCD struggle

Former England rugby star Kyran Bracken reveals he has OCD which once made him get up 90 times a night to use the toilet – and hid his condition for a decade out of ’embarrassment’

  • Kyran, 44, realised he was suffering from symptoms of OCD as far back as 2001
  • He avoided asking for help because he thought it was a sign of weakness
  • After his symptoms spiralled Kyran sought help with therapy and medication
  • He hopes by sharing it will encourage others in the rugby world to speak up 

Former England rugby star Kyran Bracken has admitted that he hid his own mental health battle during the height of his career because he was ’embarrassed’.

The 44-year-old, who was part of the famous World Cup-winning squad of 2003, has suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for over a decade.

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the married father-of-three, who retired from the sport in 2006, explained how the disorder meant he would go to the toilet up to 90 times a night and left him exhausted because of lack of sleep.

‘I was just so embarrassed because of the stigma attached. Years later I found that other people were suffering at the same time. 

‘For me I was suffering all that time with the pain. It took me ten years to deal with it,’ he said of hiding his condition from family and friends. 

At the height of his rugby career former England star Kyran Bracken said he was suffering from mental health problems which he later discovered was OCD

Kyran explained how he suffered in silence for many years with his mental health and was too ’embarrassed’ to speak up and ask for help

Kyran told presenters Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway, that he had symptoms as far back as 2001, which he now knows was due to OCD. 

‘I was getting these adrenaline rushes. I couldn’t sleep, I had all these rituals… I didn’t know then but I had OCD symptoms.’

The former Dancing on Ice contestant, who played rugby professionally for 14 years, added that he was going to the toilet ‘about 80-90 times a night’ and surviving on two-three hours of sleep.

‘I didn’t join the dots and I was struggling to train. I was going to the toilet thinking if I go I can get to sleep. It got worse and worse.’

He was able to seek help through the Rugby Players’ Association where he was prescribed medication and received therapy, but felt the need to keep it a secret because of the ‘macho’ rugby culture. 

Kyran celebrating with the England Rugby Squad and coaching team after their win at the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final in Sydney Australia

Kyran went on to take part in Dancing on Ice in 2007 and said he was still battling with his mental health during the show

Kyran is hoping that by speaking up now and sharing how he eventually asked for help it will encourage others in the rugby world to be more open about their mental health. 

‘OCD is about control and the more you try to control it the worse it gets. The more you fight it you have to become more accepting of the symptoms.’

He added that he didn’t share his struggles because he thought it was a sign of weakness. 

‘I’m still embarrassed to talk about it, as a macho rugby player the stigma is attached with it, but if I can talk about it so can others.’

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV from 6a

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