Al Jazeera TV : Depression in sport

Roberto speaks to Al Jazeera on depression in sport

The following is an article from various web-based accounts of depression in sports. Not fully edited but a fascinating read – particularly where individuals offer their stories.

Depression is not selective it does not discriminate against who it lands on.

Irrespective of your walk of life, your personal situation and the size of your pay packet, depression can take hold of you. And when it does, it’s not nice.  Statistics show that 1 in 10 people will suffer from anxiety or depression at some stage. Uncertainty, poor financial situations, difficult relationships, media attention, and self-imposed pressure cam all contribute.

In sports, being under the media spotlight, a loss of form, injury, being away from home for extended periods of time or nearing retirement age can all contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Sport is littered with stories of depression, many of them tragic. When Gary Speed took his own life in 2013, the world of sport gasped and then grieved together; Robert Enke’s suicide, Kelly Holmes’s act of self-harming, Frank Bruno being sectioned and Marcus Trescothick’s departure from the world’s most renowned cricket tour due to panic attacks and depression, are just a few key moments within the elite sport that act as a cruel reminder of how depression can impact on sports people as easily as anyone else.  And why would we think it should be different?

Depression hits for a number of reasons, and for many it may well be that feeling of being stuck or trapped in a certain situation. Many times it could result from financial difficulties in a number of guises. You do not have to be poor to suffer from depression for financial issues.   It may be relationships that cause depression or even lack of them. Loneliness can be difficult. For many non-sports people, they cannot understand how an elite athlete, who gets paid well for doing sport, living the dream, travelling in five star luxuries and adored by many, could suffer from depression. They miss the point. Even the biggest stars in world sport are apt to suffer. Take a look at Serena Williams, Paul Gascoigne and Marcus Trescothic for three immediate examples.

Sport brings its own issues that are unique to that domain. The pressure to achieve, to progress, to win, to maintain confidence and form is just the tip of the iceberg. Being dropped, injured, relocating or even being promoted to team captain can all bring their own issues. For footballers at the top of the league, the pressure could be as high as a team struggling at the bottom. For athletes travelling, there may be nutritional issues or sleep issues which can also lead to anxiety.  The pressure to perform and perform well in elite-level sport can be a weight too much for some. For many, the anxiety is short-lived and accepted as part of the journey. For other sit may develop into something more serious. READ MORE

Listen to Marvin Sordell’s poem about his depression. CLICK HERE

Roberto Forzoni is a world-leading peak performance psychologist, helping elite teams, individuals and organisations perform better and feel better. His extraordinary level of success working with World and Olympic Champions is unparalleled. For more information and media enquiries, contact or call direct at 07956 263348