I have moved on quickly after hockey.

The massive void that could have been in my life when I retired after the 2016 Rio Olympics was filled almost immediately. Business, family – and some hockey – have taken up that space where elite sport once was.

I have new goals, new joys … and plenty to keep me busy.

My concern is that the more I reconnect with high level sport as a member of the Australian Olympic Committee’s Athlete’s Commission, the more I realise that there are many who are not as fortunate as I have been.

Jamie Dwyer exclusive insight

At a recent commission meeting I was really surprised by statistics that showed that 35 per cent of athletes have a period of depression after a big event or when they retire.

If you have world top five aspirations – Olympics, world championships – than that number goes up to 50 per cent.

Those numbers really worry me and got me thinking.

The more I thought, the more I understood. Because if you are an elite athlete – doesn’t matter if you are a swimmer, pole vaulter or hockey player – your sport is your life.

You have to put in a lot of time and effort. There can only be one focus.

If you want to be the best at your chosen sport it’s very hard to think about anything else.

I know, because that was me. I would just push myself and push myself to be the best that I could be.

All I could think about between waking up and going to bed was hockey.

It may have been thoughts about my game, my training or an injury. Your sport consumes you and, at the time, you love that that is the case.

When you looked at the best players in the world, you could see how singularly focused they were.

But, at the same time that you are giving everything to your sport, there is also the message coming through that you should have a Plan B. “What if you don’t make it? What if you break your leg? Things can happen pretty quickly and life goes on. You will need to have a career, something else in your life.”

BONDI, SYDNEY, NSW, AUSTRALIA - 2016/03/30: Jamie Dwyer, Mens Hockey Olympic medalist poses in his Australian opening ceremony uniform during the 2016 Australian Olympic Team Uniform Official Launch in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Hugh Peterswald/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BONDI, SYDNEY, NSW, AUSTRALIA – 2016/03/30: Jamie Dwyer, Mens Hockey Olympic medalist poses in his Australian opening ceremony uniform during the 2016 Australian Olympic Team Uniform Official Launch in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Hugh Peterswald/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Now, while this is great advice, the truth is that I can understand why so many athletes don’t ‘hear it’. You have to have total belief in what you are doing and to even consider that you might not make it is like admitting defeat.

I can recall the ‘Plan B discussions’ when I was playing. I can still picture being in the room and the advice being given about life after hockey – study, careers, etc.

I can also remember not paying much attention. My mind was focussed on the next Olympic Games or World Cup. That is all I wanted to think about. Anything outside of my playing and training was an unwanted distraction.

I was lucky. I had planned to retire after the London Olympics (2012) when I was 33.

A year before that I had been injured and decided during my time off I should start thinking about life after sport. So, I started a couple of business ventures – my own hockey stick brand – and was involved in a bit of property.

Jamie Dwyer exclusive insight

I recuperated, was part of the London Games and then decided to play on and eventually competed as a 37-year-old at Rio and then retired, after about 350 games for Australia.

I am lucky because over those latter years, the businesses (including my JDH brand) and property did quite well.

So, when I retired the transition was made so much easier.

I was prepared for life after hockey and I have coped with it really well. In fact, as soon as I retired I had a bit of a strange reaction, in as far as I didn’t want anything to do with hockey at all.

Life up until then had been so regimented with plenty of training. Suddenly there was no structure and I could spend as much time with my family as I wanted to. Do whatever I liked. I loved it.

Jamie Dwyer exclusive insight 1

But then after a few months, the novelty of that wore off and I realised I still loved the sport and I actually went back and played a bit … these days just for fun.

If there is anything I miss about elite hockey, it is that there is no better feeling for me than wearing the green and gold and running out with your teammates in a major event when you are at peak condition.

You put your talents against the best in the world. That’s what I loved. And I loved the energy that you felt in those stadiums. I also loved the preparation, the lead-up, the training. I loved all of that.

So, in a bizarre twist, I was quite lucky I was injured before the London Olympics and had that opportunity to set some things up while I was still playing.

If I broke my leg or something happened when I was 28 or 29, before my profile had reached its peak, it would have been a case of: “OK, what do I do now?” I wouldn’t have had any idea what I was going to. I probably would have tried to get into coaching or something like that.

Jamie Dwyer exclusive insight 1

So, there is no doubt elite athletes have to be better prepared for their exit. But, also I believe the sports’ governing bodies need to take a close look at their roles before and after players retire.

I can only speak for myself, but I never received a phone call from Hockey Australia after I retired saying: “Hey, how are you doing? Is everything okay? How’s life?” Just a simple phone call to check up on you.

Now, maybe they’ve done it for other athletes, but the guys I’ve spoken to have had pretty much zero communication after they’ve been dropped, or have retired.

This is something that really disappoints me. I have heard that some of the athletes from other sports have been treated really well – Rowing Australia apparently have been very good in this area and I am keen to talk to them.

When you hear of those depression statistics you understand why athletes, once retired, would be rapt to get a call and to see that people cared about them.

As I said, for me it has been two years and not even a phone call to check up and see how you are going, or even for someone to say: “Thanks for your services.”

I have played overseas a lot and have seen how players are treated there when they retire or reach a career milestone. It is really special.

And the players are made to feel really special. We could and should be doing the same here. The fact that it doesn’t happen is really unprofessional and disappointing.

I’m OK. I am set up for life. But, I am sure there are plenty of other players who would really appreciate that phone call and for someone to say: “How are you going?”

Thankfully, in recent times I’ve had a chance to speak to Hockey Australia and changes are starting to happen for the future.

A new-look administration has taken over and have implemented a new medical program, for current, past and emerging athletes. Which is a massive step forward in the right direction.