Tuesday October 6th, 2015

New research from FIFPro, soccer’s world players’ union, links severe injuries to mental health problems among its athletes.

FIFPro found a strong correlation between serious injuries and surgeries and players’ mental well-being, also learning that symptoms of mental health problems are more prevalent in current and former professional soccer players than in the general population.

The research was gathered from current and former players among 11 unions on three different continents. It builds on an earlier study conducted among players in five countries in 2013. FIFpro says the numbers confirm the validity of that research, and that some findings suggest the problems are more serious than previously thought.

The new research shows that 38% of 607 current players and 35% of 219 former players reported suffering from symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Sleeping problems (23% and 28%), distress (15% and 18%) and adverse alcohol use (9% and 25%) were also found to be prevalent.

VAULT: Grant Wahl on the USA-Mexico rivalry, circa 2005

According to the study, current players who had suffered three or more severe injuries in their career were two to almost four times likelier to report mental health problems than players who had not.

The study polled players’ unions in Belgium, Chile, Finland, France, Japan, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

For more study results, click here.

- Jeremy Woo


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