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SBD Global/April 3, 2014/International Football

Survey: Anxiety, Depression, Alcohol Abuse 'Highly Prevalent' Among Footballers

More than one quarter of professional footballers who took part in a survey conducted by world players' union FIFPro said that "they suffered from depression or anxiety," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. The problem "was even worse among retired players." Thirty-nine percent said that "they were affected." A FIFPro statement said, "Symptoms relating to depression and anxiety are highly prevalent among professional footballers." FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Vincent Gouttebarge, who conducted the research, said, "Contrary to popular belief, the life of a professional footballer has some dark sides." Thirty-two percent of 121 former players interviewed reported "adverse alcohol behavior" and 12% said that "they were smoking." Gouttebarge: "Once the players stop with intensive physical activities they lose their structured life, their social support by trainers and teammates diminishes, they need to find their place in ‘regular' society, and find another occupation" (REUTERS, 4/2). In London, Liam Prenderville reported that of the 180 pro footballers surveyed in total, 19% "reported high levels of alcohol consumption," with 7% "admitting to smoking." Of former players surveyed, "a staggering" 42% "reported general nutrition problems" (DAILY MIRROR, 4/2).
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