A former elite military doctor who left the forces with combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2020 is putting his experiences to good use to help professional athletes.

Dr Simon Le Clerc from Richmond, North Yorkshire, spent 24 years in the Army. He served in conflict zones around the world providing specialist treatment to wounded soldiers including anaesthesia, blood transfusions, operations and even open-heart surgery, often while under fire. He was discharged with severe, complex combat-related PTSD in 2020.

The forces doctor has set up a new service amid increasing concerns among professional athletes about wellbeing, such as 19-year-old English tennis pro Emma Raducanu, who withdrew from Wimbledon due to performance anxiety and US gymnast Simone Biles who pulled out of some events at the 2021 Olympics citing mental health concerns.

After being approached by several elite athletes, Dr Le Clerc, 53, set up the Player Support Services to help sportspeople tackle professional challenges during and after their careers.

He said: “Many athletes leave sport having devoted their life to it and suddenly find they don’t know who they are or what they want to do, it can be really unsettling and even harmful for some. I went through a similar journey leaving the forces and know that real support can be limited.

“I set up Player Support Services to help individual athletes, and also to work with forward-thinking organisations that aim to do more for athletes during and after their careers and don’t just see them as commodities.” He eventually wants to extend the business to be recognised around the world. 

Golf pro Scott Henry, who remains a pro following Dr Le Clerc's advice, said: “My game had been ripped apart by injury and Simon offered some great ideas to deal with the psychological side of managing this phase of my life. I gained new perspectives on what had happened to me and what any potential future could look like he’s helped me continue to get my career back on track. Simon is one of the good guys who can be genuinely trusted to do the right thing.”

He has already established partnerships in USA within American football’s NFL, basketball organisations in the NBA, soccer, rugby, lacrosse and hockey, as well as former members of the Harlem Globetrotters. “I’ve been blown away by the amount of interest I’ve had from organisations and individuals across all professional and elite sports," he said.

"The mental health and wellbeing of athletes is more important than ever, and I offer a simple package to sports businesses, brands and clubs which can help them to stand out above their competition."