Former Broncos player, now Cowboys star, Josh McGuire with his dad Adam. Pic Darren England.
Former Broncos player, now Cowboys star, Josh McGuire with his dad Adam. Pic Darren England.

Cowboys’ McGuire reveals personal story on PTSD

NORTH Queensland Cowboys newcomer Josh McGuire is known as a tough competitor on the field but it's a battle one of his family has faced where he has found the strength to help others.

Josh's father Adam McGuire served 29 years in the Australian Army as an infantryman fighting in Timor and Iraq. But the former sergeant's biggest war was in his head.

Adam discharged from the army as a result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a challenge the McGuires tackle as a family unit.

"After his deployments (I) noticed he wasn't really sleeping that well and was a bit cranky," Josh said.

This change of mood was a sign the doting dad was battling with something deeper.

Josh knows that there's a certain level of power that comes with being a high-profile footballer and has made it his mission to bring awareness to the veteran community by ­taking on an ambassador role with Mates4Mates.

"Obviously there's that ­connection with my Dad but also I just like helping people," Josh said.

"It's about bringing awareness of it (PTSD) and that everyone deals with things ­differently.

"It's not something you can just switch off and (my role) is making sure people know that."

Josh said being a footy player paled in comparison to the admirable job of our servicemen and women.

"What I do is nothing like being in the Army," Josh said.

"What gets me is their way of thinking because in their eyes they're just doing a job and going to war wasn't ­anything extraordinary to them."

The Cowboys newcomer won't get to spend this Anzac Day with his dad as he'll be on his way to Sydney ahead of his team's clash with the Bulldogs. But the spirit of the day won't be far from his thoughts.

"I think it's very important for people to realise it's not just a public holiday," Josh said. "It's a great opportunity to pay respects to those men and women who have been lost. It's very touching and pretty ­emotional."

Mates4Mates clinical psychologist Georgia Ash is calling on everyone to watch out for their mates on Anzac Day.

"Be there to listen without judgment and certainly not making statements like it's going it be OK.

"Brushing away or negating feelings can make people feel like they're at fault and if they just change their mood they'll be all right."

>>If you or someone you know needs help, phone Open Arms Veterans and Families 24/7 Counselling on 1800 011 046 or LifeLine on 13 11 14.