Mental health of athletes, an increasingly present problemMediotiempo

One year after problem gym star Simone Billes at J’sTokyo 2020 Olympicseven stopped in full competition for take care of your physical and mental healththat athlete psychological difficulties high level is taken into account.

Recently, former French football player Thierry Henry1998 world champion, speaking on newspaper pages L’Equipe on How was this problem viewed at the time? from player:

“Crying is impossible. You can’t show your weakness. He told me: ‘Thierry don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry’. I happened to cry alone, but I struggled not to drown. Now I’m crying,” said Henry, who after his retirement continued to be associated with football as a coach and television commentator.

For Greg Decamps, sports psychology researcher at the University of Bordeaux, the difficulty in discussing this subject is explained by the fact that “The sporting environment continues to be a place where excellence, strength, masculinity are reveredand where every sign of weakness will be totally prohibited.”

To this it is added that in disciplines such as football, “with enormous financial implications”, except for the “physical injury” which they can’t be hiddenthe rest are almost “secret defences”, Décamps told AFP.


Despite these barriers, consideration of the psychological dimension is progressing step by step. In 2021, apart from Simone Biles Kasus caseimpact on tennis player Naomi Osaka at Roland Garros.

The Japanese player explained that experiencing a “long period of depression” and with episodes of “social anxiety”; he exited the French tournament under pressure, choosing not to have any media exposure at the time.

In United States of Americawomen’s soccer championship (NWSL) in February including a “six months of mental health leave” in agreement with you.

“Girls who tear their anterior cruciate ligaments keep on receive a salary even if they are far from the playing field for months. Why treat mental suffering any differently? look for roccarothe player who going through a “very bad time” and that he pressed for recognition of this type of victim.

Behind the victory is usually in sports big sacrifice and it affects everyone to a greater or lesser degree.

“High-level athletes are much more exposed to very extreme sources of stress,” explained Greg Decamps. A high-competition environment can “weak” these athletes, although it can also teach them to “develop the capacity to adapt to stressful environments”, he analyzes.

Another destabilizing aspect for many people in recent years is social networks. For Karin Moesha sports psychologist in Sweden, can be a “stress” element; lando norrisFormula 1 drivers, recently talked about the effect of various hate messages on him and his relatives.


Former French football player Vincent Gouttebarge is leading a working group at mental health at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and he is head of medical services FIFPro (union of professional footballers). An expert in both fields, he advocates dealing with psychological difficulties “such as ankle injuries.”

“Everyone has to believe that an ankle injury is the same as a mental injury.This is not the end of the world,” he explained. According to him, statements by athletes who openly shared their problems “played a role in breaking the existing taboos on this issue.”

“According to the scientific data we have collected, between 20 and 35 percent of high-level athletes have negative feelings or thoughts related to depression or anxiety, or severe problems eating behavior, or even sleeping,” he explains. Gouttebarge.

“Taboos are not sport-specific; Mental health is also a cultural issue. There are countries where things are moving a lot more than in any other country. The UK, USA, Canada or Australia are at the top of the list,” added Gouttebarge.

With information from Déborah Claude


Stuart Martin

"Internet trailblazer. Troublemaker. Passionate alcohol lover. Beer advocate. Zombie ninja."

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