Posts Tagged ‘Depression in Sports’

Robert Enke

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

As a fan, I am guilty of openly criticizing players who do not meet my expectations. I have booed at games. When the performance is truly uninspiring I have been guilty of using unsavory language to describe players. As a fan, I am also guilty of putting sports stars on a pedestal. I view these great athletes not just as human beings but also as indestructible forces of nature. As a fan, I was reminded of just how fallible sports stars are, and no matter how great they are in the sports arena these athletes are just human beings. Athletes hear the boos we so easily dish out and are devastated when their performance is less than stellar. Most athletes are able to shrug these performances off and comeback recharged for the next contest. Some athletes are unable to accept defeat and internalize their failure allowing it to tear them apart inside. One such athlete, Robert Enke, was in the latter group.
Enke first sought professional help for depression after being blamed for his Soccer teams loss in a 2007 match. Enke was able to continue playing and became a great Soccer player, however, he was never able to get over his depression. Every defeat and every personal failure he internalized until he could handle no more and took his life on Tuesday, November 9th by jumping in front of a train.
Let’s step back and remind ourselves that while our passion for sports runs deep, at the end of the day sports are just games. As a fan I mourn the loss of a human being one whose life was cut tragically short.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA