Consequences of the corona crisis: More depressed football professionals

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I.n the compulsory break in football leagues on all continents, the player union Fifpro is concerned about a sharp increase in the number of professionals who report depressive symptoms. The number of reports has doubled, it said in a press release on Monday.

The basis is the survey of 1134 players and 468 players in 16 countries in Europe, Oceania, Africa and North America from March 22 to April 14. According to this, 22 percent of women and 13 percent of men reported symptoms that indicated a depressive disorder. 18 percent of women and 16 percent of men reported symptoms that indicated anxiety. The new numbers are “extremely worrying”, Fifpro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann is quoted as saying.

In a similar survey of 307 professionals in December 2019 and January 2020, 11 percent of gamers and 6 percent of men had depressed symptoms. “Suddenly young soccer players experience social isolation, the suspension of their professional lives and concerns about the future,” says Fifpro chief medical officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge quotes. The “strong increase” of such symptoms among soccer players is therefore transferable to psychological stress “in societies due to the unprecedented emergency situation caused by Covid-19”.

More than 75 percent of the players surveyed stated that they had sufficient resources and support for their mental health. This is a positive sign that professional football is more aware of the importance of mental health than ever, Dr. Gouttebarge quotes.

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