GUEST BLOG: Breaking Boundaries

Breaking Boundaries, a blog focused on disability sport, has written an article about Depression in professional footballers for tacklingstigma.

Within the general population, 13 to 17% suffer from depression and other mental health issues. According to new research, over a third of player’s suffer symptoms of depression and mental depression. 38% of 607 footballers who were interviewed were reported to have some problems at some stage.

Fifpro, in 2013, carried out a pilot study which showed that the scale of mental health problems among footballers to be even more serious than first thought.

The findings showed:

  • 38% of 607 current players and 35% of 219 former players interviewed reported suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • 23% of current players and 28% former players suffered from sleep disturbance.
  • 15% of current players and 18% former players suffered from distress.
  • 9% of current players and 25% former players suffered from adverse alcohol.
  • Players who have sustained 3 or more severe injuries during their footballing career are 4 times more likely to report mental health problems.

Fifpro’s chief medical officer, Vincent Gouttebarge, said “The study is a necessary first step in ultimately proposing adequate preventive and supportive measures aimed at protecting and empowering the sustainable health of active and retired players”.

Vincent Gouttebarge also said he hopes the study will increase awareness and commitment from all stakeholders in football to put supportive acts in place so those suffering with mental health problems know that they are not alone. The awareness of mental health problems after surgery will allow:

  1. The early treatment of such health problems
  2. A better and safer return to sports
  3. The application of supportive measures to prevent the development of severe mental disorders in the long term.

This new data was gathered from interviews with current and former professional players across 11 countries on three continents.



Reference: The Guardian

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