The public persona of Dean Windass was of a combative British centre forward.
My kind of player.
His bravery as a footballer was never in doubt.
He would put his head in where it hurts.
He would take one for the team.
Now his courage as a person is also established.
In speaking out about his battle with depression he is, vicariously, helping the millions who will read about it.
Now he has told all us us how his head hurts in a different way.
A man like Dean Windass is in the front line of a crucial battle in health promotion.
Men, especially young men, are the least likely to seek help for depression.
They are also most likely to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.
Their head becomes a condemned cell where the only way out of the torment is perceived by them to be suicide.
Windass lines up with guys like Celtic manager Neil Lennon who has been up front and on the record about suffering from depression.
It is often said that footballers are roles models to young males.
This is usually pointed out when they misbehave.
However, Lennon and Windass are examples of the good they can do by positively utilising their public profile.
Scotland has much to congratulate itself on how it has tackled this serial killer of young men in recent years.
This campaign has aggressively targeted young guys through enlisting the help of professional football clubs in Scotland. In going to where young men are and speaking their language they have achieved real progress.
Set up by a great guy called Dougie Paterson, a staunch Hibby, we both agreed that Bill Shankly was wrong.
Life and death is more important than football.
Aberdeen fans used to chant “there’s only one Dean Windass” they’re wrong too.
There are millions of us like Deano weighed down with the invisible boulder of depression.
Women will seek help from a wide range of people in their lives when they know they’re succumbing to the illness.
Men think it unmanly to tell anyone they’re in any type of emotional or psychological trouble and they slowly slide into the darkness.
These young guys need to see that it doesn’t have to be like that.
We need more guys like Deano.
I always respected Dean Windass as dangerous opponent when he played for Aberdeen.
Now he leads the line in a much more important contest.
He’s my hero now.
Respect big guy.