Steelers return to the ice in Sheffield as fans are offered therapy over Adam Johnson's death

Fans pay tribute outside Sheffield's Utilita Arena. Credit: PA

Mental health experts were on hand at the Sheffield Steelers' first home match since the death of ice hockey player Adam Johnson two weeks ago.

Around 8,000 fans were at the Utilita Arena when the Nottingham Panthers player was fatally injured in a freak accident on the ice.

Since then, more than 600 people have taken part in two online workshops run by Sheffield Talking Therapies, aimed at helping those who witnessed the accident come to terms with the trauma.

Staff from the service were joined at the match on 12 November by teams from Rotherham, Doncaster, the Humber, Wakefield and Sheffield Children's Hospital working from a dedicated wellbeing hub on the blue concourse.

Co-ordinator Andrew Chester, clinical lead cognitive behavioural psychotherapist at Sheffield Talking Therapies said a specialist support package had been developed in response to concerns about how fans may feel about returning to the arena after the traumatic event. 

He said: “It’s understandable that people may feel anxious about returning to Sheffield arena this Sunday. The events that weekend have had an impact on many people across our city. 

“But it’s important to take that first step. This is one of the best things we can do to help our wellbeing in the long term, because it helps us to process difficult memories and to move on, rather than getting stuck.  

“Our team of experts from Sheffield Talking Therapies will be on hand to help, and we really encourage you to come and talk to us this weekend about how you’re feeling.” 

A recording of the online workshop is now available to all on their dedicated webpage for people to watch whenever suits them or whenever it will be most helpful.  

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