International

Report highlights growing concern of depression among footballers

2020-04-20 15:01
fifa
FIFA (Getty Images)

Increasing numbers of professional footballers are struggling with anxiety and depression having been forced out of action with the sport suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by global players' union FIFPro released on Monday.

FIFPro surveyed 1 602 players across 16 countries, including England, Scotland, France, Australia and the United States, with 468 female players featured in the study.

It found that 13% of male players surveyed, and 22% of female players, reported symptoms of depression. Close to one in five of both male and female players reported symptoms of anxiety.

"In football, suddenly young men and women athletes are having to cope with social isolation, a suspension of their working lives and doubts about their future," said Vincent Gouttebarge, a French former player who is FIFPro's chief medical officer.

While many countries have gone into strict lockdowns in attempts to slow the spread of Covid-19, Gouttebarge pointed out that many professional footballers live in foreign countries without family, and in many cases suffer added anxiety because of being on short-term contracts.

The FIFPro survey follows an identical study undertaken in December and January which found that the percentage of players reporting symptoms of depression were much lower - just 11% among females and six percent among males - although it involved only 307 players.

"In us performing the study and publishing these results we are very conscious that what we are communicating here is a reflection of a problem in broader society that affects many more people than our members," said FIFPro's General Secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffmann.

"I think the emphasis should be more on understanding that football players in general are actually more similar to average society than most people think."

Footballers in many countries have been confined to their homes with competitions having been suspended since mid-March.

Discussions are ongoing among federations and governing bodies about how and when the season can resume, with Europe's biggest leagues hopeful of starting again soon with matches behind closed doors.

However, Baer-Hoffmann sounded a note of caution and dismissed suggestions that the study provided any argument for rushing back onto the field.

"If we were to pressure players back in an environment where they may feel their safety is being put in danger, then it would rather add to their anxiety and concern," he said.

Read more on:    fifa  |  coronavirus  |  soccer

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

Assuming the 2019/20 Absa Premiership season can't be concluded prior to the 31 July deadline decreed by FIFA, what would be the fairest way to settle matters - all bias aside?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.