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Fevola off to US despite advice to stay

11/03/2011 07:31:01 PM Comments (0)

Troubled footballer Brendan Fevola is going ahead with his one week trip to the United States despite advice he should stay home and continue his battle to overcome gambling and depression problems.

The former AFL star, who began training with VFL club Casey this week after being sacked by Brisbane in January, will head off to Los Angeles on Saturday for a week's holiday.

"He's going to America tomorrow - nothing's changed," his manager Peter Blucher told AAP.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou believes Fevola, who has admitted to a suicide attempt and a betting addiction that cost him almost $1 million, should stay home and continue his treatment.

"Brendan, at the minute, needs as much support as possible, be around family, friends, expertise that can continue in his rehabilitation," Mr Demetriou said.

"Let's hope he has a change of heart this morning."

Fevola's brother Jason, who will travel with him to the US, said he needs to get away from Melbourne for a while.

"Some people think it's wrong but from my perspective it's a good thing," he told reporters.

"There's no pressure over there, he'll just get to relax."

Fevola revealed in a paid interview with the Nine Network on Thursday he had suffered depression and tried to kill himself.

He said he tried to take his life while drunk after arguing with his wife over an episode in which he fell asleep while minding their baby daughter.

He went to a rehabilitation clinic for 66 days after the incident which followed a drunken New Year's Eve tangle with police.

The New Year's eve incident eventually led to his sacking from the Lions, a little over a year after being axed by Carlton.

Fevola, 30, showed that he had not kicked his gambling habit completely when he was escorted out of Crown Casino on Thursday after he was playing poker.

Mr Demetriou said if Fevola can get his health and behaviour in order he would be welcome back in the AFL.

VFL club Casey is sticking with Fevola despite the problems he has brought with him.

Casey president John Sharkie said in a statement on Friday the Scorpions remained committed to helping the out-of-shape goalkicker.

Sharkie said it was clear Fevola's rehabilitation would take longer than originally thought.

"To the best of our capacity, the Scorpions will continue to assist Brendan with his endeavours to return to football," Sharkie said.

Lifeline patron John Brogden says Fevola is not unique and that he has delivered an important message.

"This could happen to famous people, it could happen to somebody who can't make the next mortgage repayment, who has lost their job, it can happen in any and every walk of life," Mr Brogden told reporters.

"The good thing for Brendan Fevola is that he didn't complete his suicide and he's here to tell the story."

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263).

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