Footy has been 'crucial' for Ben Cousins - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Footy has been 'crucial' for Ben Cousins

12/08/2010 02:59:38 PM Comments (0)

The AFL and Richmond have played a crucial role in helping Ben Cousins cope with his drug addiction, according to Tigers coach Damien Hardwick.

The stark documentary about Cousins' addiction and rehabilitation is due to screen on Channel Seven before the end of the season.

Hardwick, himself a parent, said it should be required viewing for families.

As speculation continues about whether this will be the last season of Cousins' tumultuous playing career, Hardwick has noted the role of the game in the Brownlow Medallist's comeback.

"From what I've heard, it in no way glorifies it (drug use) - this is a guy who has come back from the brink," Hardwick said on Thursday.

"Without AFL football and without the Richmond footy club, there is a fair chance that Ben wouldn't have made it.

"So I think the program in no way glorifies drug use, I think it is an enormous educational tool for parents to sit down with their kids with the classification in mind and say, 'listen, this is what happens.'

"Ben has been very lucky but there are a lot of people who aren't."

Cousins joined Richmond last year after serving a 12-month AFL ban for bringing the game into disrepute.

He had previously played 238 games for West Coast, captaining the club and winning the 2005 Brownlow Medal.

Cousins resigned from the captaincy in early 2006 after running from a booze bus, but later that year was the team's "spiritual leader" when they won the premiership.

Controversy continued to dog him in 2007 and the Eagles sacked him in October that year.

The Tigers have been strong supporters of Cousins' documentary.

"Drugs nearly killed this kid and it is a great opportunity for people to sit down, have a really good look at it and understand it," Hardwick said.

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