Paris 2024: athletes at risk for depression because of the health crisis

Published by Alexandre G. · Published on 16 February 2021 at 13h36 · Updated on 16 February 2021 at 16h39
Amid the health and economic crisis, as sport remains widely at standstill, athletes are likely to be under the weather on the psychological level. With no precise or timed projects, some of them are fighting depressive state. Interviewed by France Info, an INSEP sports and physical trainer tells more about the likely risks to thoroughly follow up prior to Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

How are athletes doing at the time of the health crisis? As Paris 2024 Summer Olympics are scheduled in three years’ time in France, sports and physical trainer at the INSEP (National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance) Stéphane Clech has been interviewed this Tuesday February 16, 2021 by France Info and raises awareness about risk for depression in athletes. “I feel uneasiness growing in many athletes” he assures.

Risks are particularly growing during these difficult times. Since the beginning of 2020, the Covid-19 epidemic has been carrying off everything in its path, leading to a global health and economic crisis, but also delaying all major events and international competitions for athletes, without exception. Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed to the summer 2021, world championships delayed in almost every sport: consequences are catastrophic for the world of sports.

With this in mind, France female fencing team member Cécilia Berder explains France Info that “behind muscly bodies, the rage of winning, the quest for progress and victory, depression in athletes exists”. She highlights the impact of the period on athletes’ mental health. “Of course, the period does not help to fight this depressive state. We used our heads to travel, to have goals every weekend. Today, some of us go to practice more by habits than with a specific purpose” the female athlete warns.

Even worse, lockdown marked a long-termed standstill for these athletes and consequences are still not known to date. “During the first lockdown and the complete standstill of trainings, we experienced how a painless body felt, how waking up without having troubles to get up felt” the fencer argues.

Furthermore, INSEP sports and physical trainer perfectly knows what consumes athletes and offers rather concrete solutions to avoid it or at least ease it off. “It’s even rather simple to make it out. It involves construction, consolidation, we don’t talk about putting a band-aid on a broken bone” he says. But he keeps hope: “It’s still time to take action to fully and serenely live this Olympiad to Paris 2024 Olympics”.

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