Ian Costello

Walking Football Aids Ian Through Recovery

After many setbacks with his health, Ian Costello found respite through Walking Football – which helped him on a path to a better life.

- Ian Costello has had multiple challenges that has affected his mental and physical wellbeing
- Three years ago Ian found Leicester City in the Community’s Walking Football session at St Margaret’s Pastures
- After some encouragement from Health and Wellbeing coaches, Ian has thrived at the weekly session
- He has subsequently took part in other MatchFit programmes and is in a much better place mentally

Regular Leicester City in the Community walking footballer, Ian has had plenty of challenging moments in his life that has understandably affected his mental and physical wellbeing.

Dealing with personal health issues and family incidents, he joined in with Leicester City in the Community’s weekly Walking Football session at his lowest.

Ian admits it was a tough start with Leicester City in the Community, as he speaks on the artificial surface, three years after his first experience.

He said: “I was very unhealthy; I didn’t want to go out because I was embarrassed about my weight and my health, but then I decided to give it a go. The first sessions I was absolutely terrible – I was kicking a ball and falling over – it became a bit of a laugh.

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Ian Costello
Ian Costello

Walking football participant Ian Costello has felt the benefits of joining in with the sessions.

“I then didn’t fall over and started to play well; I felt welcomed by the lads and that was a big step to recovery.”

After steady progress with growth in self-confidence and weight loss, Ian had a setback when anxiety and depression levels rose. But, after working with Leicester City in the Community's coaches, he continued to make self-improvements.

“My depression and anxiety started to rise, and I was spoiling the game,” he said. “It wasn’t fun anymore. I spoke to Dave Eassom (Health and Wellbeing Coach) and Martin Spencer (volunteer) and what they said to me was very warming and informative.

“I understood that I had to try and deal with it when I am on the pitch, and I have been doing that – I have been doing really well."

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic – Ian continued to push himself upwards – he managed to finish a virtual London Marathon, which has helped him lose four stone. Physical positive differences were matched by mental improvements.

It really helped with my fitness – my fitness level has gone up so much. I wouldn’t be here now standing and talking if it wasn’t for walking football.

Ian Costello

“Walking football has definitely made me a better person,” he adds. “It has made me understand my situation and luckily, I have had people around me who have supported me.

“It really helped with my fitness – my fitness level has gone up so much. I wouldn’t be here now standing and talking if it wasn’t for walking football.”

Ian now participates in further Leicester City in the Community programmes and tells his story of recovery as inspiration to many people in the region. You can watch his powerful story, HERE

If you are feeling stressed, anxious, angry, low, or just not feeling yourself, Leicester City in the Community can help. Access free resources with advice and stories aimed at helping you improve your own situation at www.unitedleicester.com.  

Find out more or join your nearest Walking Football session by contacting Health and Wellbeing Coach Dave Eassom at david.eassom@lcfc.co.uk.

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