"I've been medication-free for over a year" - Keith Earls opens up in incredible, emotional ITV interview 2 weeks ago

"I've been medication-free for over a year" - Keith Earls opens up in incredible, emotional ITV interview

Keith Earls has discussed his Irish rugby career in an emotional interview with ITV's Gabriel Clarke.

Having exploded onto the scene as a youngster at Munster, Earls' career began at a frenetic pace. By the time he was 21, he had not only represented his province and his country, he had also played for the British and Irish Lions in their tour of South Africa.


But it was in the years that followed, as teams began to 'figure him out,' that the flying winger began to struggle mentally.

Eventually, after years of 'anxiety,' and 'negative thinking' in the build-up to games, Earls was diagnosed as bipolar.

He says now, with the benefit of hindsight that, without this diagnosis, he wouldn't be at this Rugby World Cup.

Earls opened up in an emotive interview with ITV journalist and documentary film-maker Gabriel Clarke, pictured below.


"Do you consider yourself an Irish rugby great," asked Clarke to begin with.

"No," Earls replied flatly.

"It's probably a confidence thing. It's just the way I am."


Earls said that he only really began to enjoy his rugby career in its second half.

"I've only really enjoyed my career from my 50th cap on. I just didn't enjoy it.

"Then when teams start figuring you out. The pressure piles on, and I went down a big rabbit-hole of negative thinking.

"I didn't want to play anymore. Semi-finals, finals, even World Cups, I'd have massive highs and lows which I didn't know how to handle."


Earls, who recently won his 100th cap for Ireland, says that he reached rock bottom at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, during Ireland's 24-9 victory over France.

"The World Cup in 2015, the pressure, how big it was, it was one of the worst days of my rugby career," he says.

"The negative thinking...then went out to the field and even dropped a silly ball that could have been in for a try.

"I just derailed myself and didn't have control of my mind. So I was an emotional wreck by how much anxiety I had that day. I swore to myself that I'd never want to feel like this again."


Earls was diagnosed as bipolar soon after and it was only then that he began to enjoy the game. He reflects on the 2018 Grand Slam win as one of the great, anxiety free-days and is happy to say that, for the last year, he has been medication-free.

"The diagnosis was a form of bipolar. I spent every minute of every day trying to figure out how I can deal with it."

"I haven't told anyone, but I've been medication free for over a year now. Incredible. From where I was. You still get poor days, but I've went to lengths to figure myself out, which I'm very content with now," he concluded.

Related articles: