'It's in my DNA': Footballer Bobby Copping, who had to retire aged 19, on why he's dedicating his life to helping others

  • Watch this report by ITV Anglia's Andy Ward

A former professional footballer who had to retire at the age of just 19 due to a serious head injury has launched his own foundation.

Bobby Copping from Dereham in Norfolk was advised to give up the sport after a header in training with League One side Peterborough United resulted in him momentarily losing the majority of his vision and the left-hand side of his body going numb.

Mentally, Bobby found the news incredibly difficult to deal with, and practically locked himself in his room for a couple of weeks.

However, he's now got his life back on track, and has set up the Bobby Copping Foundation to offer mental health support to players, families and staff within elite sport.

Bobby is hoping to offer mental health support to young players. Credit: ITV News Anglia

This week, he talked to sports students at Stamford College where he did a presentation about the highs and lows he went through during his short career, and more importantly, how he dealt with setbacks.

"It's in my DNA, really. Anyone that you speak to will tell you that I want to help people and I want to use my experiences to help people," Bobby told ITV News Anglia.

"So, having this happen to me, for me, it was something I could use in a positive way."

Bobby also talked at length about rejection in sport - a subject close to his heart, having been released by Norwich City when he was a youngster.

Bobby Copping suffered a serious head injury in training. Credit: Bobby Copping

Many children in academies never make it through to the first team of a club, which can lead to mental health issues when they are let go.One of the primary aims of Bobby's foundation is to give young players a shoulder to cry on should they find themselves without a club, as well as motivating them to pick themselves up again.

"I sit at my desk (at Peterborough United) and I look at the lads training, and I think: 'I should be there, I should be doing that.' And through no fault of my own, that got taken away from me," he said.

"But I think what we educate and support people with, and inspire people with, is to have that mindset to carry on going."