Paul Wade knows better than most men about the importance of having a medical check-up.
The former Socceroos captain was diagnosed with epilepsy late in his international football career but was reluctant to talk about his illness until years later when he had a seizure on live television.
‘‘You just don’t know what could be wrong with your body - and the attitude most men seem to have is that if it’s not bleeding there is nothing wrong with it,’’ he said.
Mr Wade shared his story - and urged Illawarra men to see a doctor regularly - during Saturday’s third annual ‘‘Check-It’’ - an event organised by a group of business, community, medical and University of Wollongong representatives called Healthier Illawarra Men (HIM).
‘‘I have had part of my brain removed because of my epilepsy, and I’ll always wonder if I had taken the medication earlier, or if it had been recognised earlier would I have avoided this and would the medication have worked?’’ Mr Wade said.
‘‘For years I didn’t want to tell anyone that I had epilepsy for fear that people would think I was a wuss.’’
In five hours on Saturday about 500 men visited WIN Entertainment centre to have their blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and other basic figures checked by UOW medical students.
HIM committee chairman Mark McDonald said numbers were slightly down on previous years, but the event would still make a big impact on men’s health.
‘‘The age range for guys who had high blood pressure [on Saturday] was from ages 21 up to 70,’’ Mr McDonald said.
‘‘That really gives you a cause for concern ... [because] most of those guys never have health checks and none of them ever go to their GP.’’
Mr McDonald said organisers helped these men to find a GP in their suburb so they would follow up with a doctor’s appointment.
‘‘Our concern is that they actually follow through because eventually it does come down to looking after yourself and making the appointment,’’ he said.