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Wellbeing Support for Ice Hockey Fans

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On 28 October 2023, ice hockey player Adam Johnson tragically passed away after an accident during the match between Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers. 

We are sending our deepest condolences to Adam Johnson's family, friends and all of the Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers teams and fans. Many people witnessed this traumatic event and have been impacted by it. 


Taking Care of Yourself After Traumatic Events

Witnessing traumatic events can have a big impact on our wellbeing. You may experience upsetting memories, disturbed sleep, stress or anxiety, sadness, anger or feelings of guilt. You may also feel like your mind and body are on high alert all the time, for example feeling tense or jumpy.

You might be worried that there is something wrong with you because your mind and body are reacting in this way.  However, all of these experiences are normal reactions to a traumatic event. For most people, the mind and body will settle down again in a few days or weeks.

In response to this event we facilitated two online wellbeing sessions attended by more than 600 ice hockey fans. The recording of the session below can help you to understand what’s happening and how to take care of yourself and others.

Remote video URL

Resources to Help You Take Care of Yourself and Others

We also have downloadable resources available including factsheets, audio resources and resources for parents and children, you can find them here.


Going Back to Watch Ice Hockey

It is very understandable that we’ll feel anxious about going back to watch a match in future. However, this is one of the best things we can do to help our wellbeing in the long term, because it helps us to process difficult memories and to move on, rather than getting stuck.

By going back to the place where we were distressed or anxious, our mind and body can learn to feel safe again. We can see that the events we witnessed are in the past and things are now back to normal.

This can take a little time and we may need to be patient while our mind and body gradually become calmer. However, this process will start even on our first time back at the match and each time afterwards it will feel easier.

The video below will help you to think about going back to a match, how you can prepare for this and how you can look after yourself when you do.

It’s important to make your own decision about when you feel ready for this and to let others do this too.


Remote video URL

The two exercises below can be really effective ways of calming the mind.

Most people recover naturally from this kind of experience within a few days or weeks. For many people, talking with friends and family, self-care and getting back to our usual activities can be enough to help us feel better without the need for further support or talking therapy.

Others may find this process takes a little longer and benefit from additional support.

The NHS recommends “watchful waiting” for around four weeks. If you are still experiencing difficult memories, distress, anxiety and disruption to your daily activities after four weeks please get in touch with your local NHS Talking Therapies Service.

If you are registered with a Sheffield GP, you can make a self-referral to Sheffield Talking Therapies by clicking on the link at the top of this page or by telephonining 0114 226 4380.

If you live in Rotherham, Doncaster or North Lincolnshire, you can find information about accessing your local Talking Therapies Service here.

If you live outside these areas, you can find your local Talking Therapies service here.


NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board has published an advice page for people who have been affected by these events.  It includes helpful links to other sources of support in Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and North Lincolnshire. This includes advice and links for parents, children and young people.

Page last reviewed: 09 November 2023
Next review date:
06 May 2024