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Keegan Brown reveals depression battle after Wade scalp at the World Darts Championship

Brown in action against Wade (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Keegan Brown has revealed he has been suffering from anxiety and depression during his time away from the darting limelight.

Brown became World Youth Champion in 2014 but has since struggled to make an impact in major tournaments, qualifying for just three televised events this season and flirting with relegation from the tour as a result.

The Isle of Wight ace, however, recorded a superb deciding-set scalp of James Wade in Round One of the World Championship on Sunday, safeguarding his Tour Card and marking what he hopes to be the start of a turnaround in fortunes.

The 25-year-old admits he struggled to come to terms with slipping out of the spotlight as results dried up and has endured a testing time away from the oche.

"Over the past 18 months, I've been battling my demons," said Brown.

"Three years ago, I peaked. I played well and everyone thought I was fantastic, but the last 18 months have been very hard.

"When I was playing well, the phone calls were going through the roof and everyone wanted a piece of me.

"Then I hit rock bottom and nobody wanted me.

"In 2016 I found that I was suffering from depression.

"My wife is the best person to have by my side but I still felt alone and it's not nice.

"Mental health is very much a stigma in this country."

Brown subjected Wade to his first opening round defeat in a World Championship since 2006 as he held his nerve in a tense last set to record his first televised win since 2015.

Wade has been open in his battle with bipolar disorder and is a patron of the Bipolar UK charity, and Brown says he has often confided in the multiple major champion.

"I'm very anxious and if you've never suffered with anxiety and depression, it's very hard to talk to someone who hasn't," he added.

"I feel I can talk to someone like James because he can relate to it.

"I've been on tablets for it, you take the tablets but you have to work with them.

"I'm 25 and people presume that if you're young you can just bounce back."

World ranked 55, Brown balances life as a professional darts player with a demanding day job as a laboratory assistant at St Mary's hospital on the Isle of Wight.

The former Grand Slam quarter-finalist has been forced to re-evaluate his commitments as he pursues his dream of becoming World Champion and grabbing a slice of the £11 million annual prize fund up for grabs on the PDC circuit.

"I love my job but not as much as darts," added Brown. "My wife told me I need to focus on darts because if you want to be a millionaire you're not going to be one from being a lab assistant.

"I've got the talent and I need to work at it but it's very important not to get carried away.

"I've reduced my hours at work so I can practice.

"Funnily enough I need to go back to work on Tuesday and request the time off!"

Holiday-permitting, Brown will return to Alexandra Palace to face Austria's Zoran Lerchbacher in Round Two on Saturday afternoon.


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Keegan Brown reveals depression battle after Wade scalp at the World Darts Championship

Keegan Brown has revealed he has been suffering from anxiety and depression during his time away from the darting limelight.

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