Players and clubs show solidarity with Navan's Ben Curtis as he takes break from football
Talented Navan footballer Ben Curtis this week revealed that he is stepping away from all football to focus on his mental wellbeing.
The 19-year-old defender joined Drogheda from St Patrick’s Athletic at the start of the season and played in the first two games as United were unbeaten in both.
However, he has not featured since February and now the Navan man has taken to social media to state that he was suffering with his mental health.
In a post on Istagram, Curtis outlined his reasons for opting to stop playing now.
"Just want to come on here and firstly give everyone peace of mind with myself as I’ve had a few messages over last few days regarding what’s going on with me.
"For the last three years I’ve been suffering with my mental health and woke up every single day not knowing who I am or what my purpose is for myself. I kept this all into myself and as time went on and on it got worse. It feels like these heavy metal chains wrapped around my neck holding me down and keeping me from moving.
"A few days ago I got the courage to speak up and get help, this was a really hard thing for me too and makes me emotional even writing this, the support I have had from my family and partner since speaking up has been amazing and has made this so much easier for me.
"I have made the decision for myself to step away from football altogether, I just want to thank everyone who has supported me over the years and been there for me. Mental health is a silent killer and you should never be afraid to speak up and get help. You’re not alone.”
Drogheda United reacted by saying they understood his reasons and insisted the player was always welcome at the club.
"Everyone at Drogheda United is incredibly proud of our young player, Ben Curtis, for having the bravery to speak about his mental health struggles.
“We fully understand and support Ben’s decision to step away from football,” Drogheda said in a statement.
"We wish him all the best and he knows he is always welcome in our club.”
Curtis previously played for Shamrock Rovers, joining at under-15 level in 2019. He progressed to Rovers under-17 team in 2020 and made his senior debut, as a substitute for Shamrock Rovers II in a First Division game against UCD. Curtis began the 2021 season with Shamrock Rovers before making the switch to St Patrick’s Athletic midway through the season.
Curtis featured for the Saints under-19 side through the remainder of the 2021 season and played in both legs of their UEFA Youth League tie against Red Star Belgrade.
An Irish underage international, Curtis signed a professional contract with St Patrick’s Athletic ahead of the 2022 season and was part of the Saints first team matchday squad throughout the season.
The 2022 season saw the 18-year-old feature for St Pat’s under-19 side that won the under-19 league title and finished as runners-up in the under-19 Enda McGuill Cup.
Ben's younger brother Sam Curtis plays for St Patrick's Athletic.