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Football: Being privileged does not protect against depression – Sports

We had to suppress a sly smile to think twice. It was three days ago, the words of the wife of Angel Di Maria, the Argentinian international of the PSG, had at the same time the perfume of indecency and that of the distress. Jorgelina Cardoso said all the pain of her husband, how much he goes around in circles, how he lives the confinement in Paris so badly, so much that she can only leave her daughters for a moment in the afternoon. “He can no longer bear it,” she said from a distance on Argentine TV on Saturday evening, in a wet whisper of infinite sadness.

Considering the confinement conditions of this soccer star, who earns more than a million francs a month and who lives in a sumptuous residence, the temptation is great to ask him, to compare, to stay cloistered in 35 m2 with his Jorgelina and her two little girls, while shopping with 30 euros at the corner supermarket, so that he spares us his moods.

A psychological vacuum

But do not refrain from thinking beyond this first reaction. Containment is an ordeal for everyone, including the pro footballer. Would he suffer more than ordinary people? Emptied of its substance, forced to find at home, the place was spacious and furnished, the ersatz of his former life, of his profession-passion, this privileged private more than his appointment with the public, would he have more reasons than others to feel unwell? Because he has this feeling of loneliness psychologically? Because physically also he goes out and he feels good, nothing replacing a four-wheeler and even less a match?

Psychologically, Lucio Bizzini knows what he is talking about. The psychologist, former Servettian, former Swiss international, has some answers. “We are in the problematic of the relationship of oneself with a given situation,” he explains. On this level, the means, the salary, the living conditions are in no way an antidote to mental suffering, if it manifests itself. Nothing protects against depression, even if one can instinctively say that it is easier to have the life of Di Maria, than to be confined in an HLM. For a pro footballer, there are undoubtedly several gaps to fill. I’m talking about joint training, the program with fixed deadlines to come, the confrontation with the weekly audience. These are all voids that can cause a feeling of emptiness in the head too. ”

Physical loss

And then this depressive episode, reported by Di Maria’s wife, may be more easily on the lookout for someone whose intensive physical exercise is the profession, who loses his bearings. And his condition, in every sense of the word. At this level, it’s Finn Mahler, sports doctor at the Tower Hospital, who talks about the physiological consequences.

“Mikaela Shiffrin showed, in a YouTube video I think, that what you can do at home in terms of physical maintenance is spectacular. An exercise bike, stairs, weights and most athletes can work from home, except for swimmers and a few other sports. But it must also be said: this is not enough to replace, especially for football, what is done during the week in training and in matches of course. This is what can weigh for a professional. “

Concretely, confinement implies a loss of physical condition. “If you perform a performance measurement with heart rate monitors, after confinement a sportsman will be unable to approach the same figures as in normal times,” says Finn Mahler. Because if pure strength can be maintained with individual programs to be performed alone, the mobilization of certain muscles cannot be done at home, under the same conditions as during collective training. “

The loss is difficult to quantify, the specialist will not venture there. On the other hand, it is affirmative on one point. “After all that, it will ideally take four weeks to be competitive again, at the pre-stop level. But at the moment it is not known whether the championships will resume or not. Between the psychological situation, the questions about the physical and the lack of horizon, it is not easy to manage, perhaps more in a team sport like football. ”

Created: 03.31.2020, 6:05 p.m.

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