PFA highlight worrying levels of depression among players amid coronavirus pandemic

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Premier League clubs have all begun phase one of training this week as they prepare for a possible return to action next month (Sky Sports).

If everything goes smoothly, the top flight could set to return behind closed doors on the 19th of June (BBC Sport).

However, some players have come out and questioned the rationale behind restarting the league when the coronavirus death rates are still relatively high.

The likes of Glenn Murray (Sky Sports) and Danny Rose (LockDown Tactics Podcast) have both voiced their disagreement with playing football while Troy Deeney (Eddie Hearn & Tony Bellew: Talk The Talk Podcast) has also made it clear that he will not be returning to training.

However, there is one other massive issue that has gone under the radar – the mental health of the players.

Sky Sports report that almost a quarter of the players in the Premier League say they are depressed or have considered self-harm as a result of the lockdown.

The PFA spoke to 262 members between mid-April and mid-May to assess the impact of the crisis and an astonishing 57 current or former top-flight professionals have revealed that they felt depressed or considered harming themselves.

Additionally, it has also been revealed 69 per cent of the current players surveyed were worried about their footballing career while 72 per cent admitted to having regular feelings of nervousness and anxiety.

Spurs Web Opinion

The knee jerk response to this from some people would be to assume footballers are better placed to deal with the lockdown that most normal people, given the mansions that they own. However, mental health has nothing to do with a person’s income and footballers, who are used to being outdoors everyday from their childhood, will be hit much worse than most people during this lockdown.

This survey result also makes it clear that the vast majority of the players are desperate to get back on to the pitch and play. Those who do not want to play should be allowed to stay at home but the league should still go on.

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