Sun, 01 Nov 2020

England cricket great Andrew Flintoff is debating whether to seek professional help over his long battle with bulimia he says in a BBC documentary to be broadcast on Monday.

The 42-year-old former all-rounder first revealed he was suffering from the eating disorder in 2014, admitting it had affected him through his playing career.

The 79-times capped Flintoff has gone on to enjoy a successful career in television since retiring from all forms of cricket aged just 32.

He says in 'Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia' he may need professional help for the first time - he also wonders whether the eating disorder contributed to his relatively early retirement.

"I don't want to be a statistic," he said.

"I don't want it to be read that something has happened to me."

Experts estimate that at least 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom - of which 25 percent are male - have an eating disorder like bulimia.

Flintoff says being teased he was overweight in the nascent stages of his international career sparked his descent into bulimia.

"I became known as a fat cricketer," said Flintoff.

"That was horrible. That was when I started doing it. That was when I started being sick after meals.

"Then things started happening for me as a player."

Perhaps the apex of his England career was his pivotal role in the regaining on home soil of the Ashes after an 18-year hiatus in 2005.

However, his exploits on the pitch did not mirror a happy time off it as he says he would make himself sick.

"Everyone was happy with me," he said. "My weight was coming down. It was like: 'I'm bossing this.'

"It just carried on and I was doing it all the time."

Flintoff says the moment he saw the light about battling bulimia and confronting other parts of his life came after an incident which attracted negative headlines in the 2007 World Cup.

He was stripped of the vice-captaincy after he tried to put to sea in a pedalo - labelled the 'Fredalo' incident - following a drinking session.

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