FIFPro research finds depression in professional football is widespread


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Research by FIFPro has found that symptoms of mental ill health are more widespread in current and former professional footballers than in the general population.


FIFPro is the worldwide representative organisation for all professional players, with over 65,000 members. The organisation is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.


Of the 607 current players surveyed, 38% reported that they had displayed symptoms of depression and / or anxiety in the last four weeks. An additional 35% of the former players surveyed returned similar results. Among current professionals, players who had sustained three or more severe injuries during their career were two to nearly four times more likely to report mental ill health.


Sleep disturbance was identified by 23% of current players and 28% of former players, whilst 15% of current players had felt feelings of distress. This figure rose to 18% of former players.


Fifpro’s chief medical officer Vincent Gouttebarge said: “We hope that with this study comes increased awareness and commitment from all stakeholders in football to put supportive measures in place so that those suffering from mental health problems know they are not alone.


The survey also asked current and former players to describe their alcohol and tobacco consumption. 9% of current players reported adverse behaviour pertaining to alcohol abuse. This figure rises to 25% of former players - one in four. 4% of current players and 11% of former players are smokers.


For more information about FIFPro's research, click here.