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towards the end of the taboo?

Talking about the state of your mental health is generally very taboo in our society. Associated with weakness or even madness, addressing these issues is a real dilemma for people in pain. And this, particularly for sportsmen. So let us tell you about this taboo which is gradually cracking, in the sporting world, thanks to the liberation of speech.

Athletes victims of their physical health

If we are mainly interested in the physical health of our great athletes, their sanity is royally cast aside. However, it plays a major role in the well-being of our athletes. And contrary to what their successful career suggests, they are many people suffer from depression or moments of sadness.

Indeed, a survey by the Ethics and Sports Committee, carried out among 1,200 athletes, has shown that 80% of them have already felt a lack of energysadness, or a lack of confidence. A number that shows how many the sporting environment is demanding and uncompromising.

Heroes & heroines, but not only…

In front of a football or rugby match or even in front of a swimming competition, sports together. In addition to this beautiful quality, sport, on the other hand, the very high barrier to our players.

Whether you are a simple spectator or a coach, we expect a lot from our athletes. Figures of demi-god/goddess, invulnerability or even fighters, athletes must suffer the crushing consequences of their success. They are no longer considered full human beings, but “extraordinary” beings without any more fragility.

“The athlete is a bit ‘objectalized’. We only see the performance of the body”, specifies Elise Anckaert, sports psychologist at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (Insep), to the media Cosmopolitan

Finally, the end of an omerta?

But some footballers, tennis champions and athletes have reversed the trend in recent years and put an end to the omerta which weighed on their mental health.

A real blow for the sporting world, the world number 2 in tennis, Naomi Osakaannounced for example on May 31, 2021, his withdrawal from the tournament. She then explained:

“The truth is that I have been through long periods of depression since the US Open 2018 and have had a very hard time recovering from it (…) Anyone who knows me knows that I am introverted, and anyone who knows me anyone watching tournaments will have noticed that I often wear headphones because it helps to reduce my social anxiety. »

Multi-medal winning gymnast Simone Biles has, likewise, decided to withdraw from several events to take care of his mental health.

She was victim of tiwities (loss of bearings in the jumping phases) and even declared in 2018, having been sexually assaulted by Lassy Nassar, former national gymnastics team doctor. From traumas that undermine his mental health and finally push her to withdraw from the medium.

A multi-sport phenomenon

This taboo is also broken on the football field. PSG striker and football player, Neymar confided, in 2021, on his psychological fatigue.

“I think this is my last World Cup. I don’t know if I will still have the mental strength to continue to manage my life as a footballer afterwards,” he said, according to the translation of L’Equipe.

An announcement, who changed mentalitiessince even the legend of French football, Thierry Henry confided in the newspaper l’Equipe :

“(…) In my time, it was much harder, totally taboo. Even in the group. You arrived in the locker room: ”How are you?” – Yes”, even if things weren’t going well. ”You slept well ? – Yes” even if it was not the case.” Are you in pain? – No”, even if you were in pain. Today, a player can open up more. »

And we can only rejoice. Let’s remember: mental health is as important as physical health and is an integral part of a person’s vital balance. Other professional athletes have also followed suit and have spoke openly about their discomfort. We think in particular of the former Australian professional tennis player Ashleigh Bartybut also the French judoka Amanda Buchardthe French international handball player valentine door or the French international footballer Paul Pogba.

Nowadays, in France, an annual psychological assessment is mandatory for adult athletes. high level and two for minors. This analysis shows how they organize themselves, adapt and what are the factors that can weaken them.

Moreover, the speaking out of these many professionals helps to de-stigmatize mental health-related disorders and leads us to believe in a healthier and more open sporting environment.

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