Arabs are among them. The World Cup in Qatar raises the value of the most outstanding players

The risk of mental stress is not much different from injuries faced by football players, and can sometimes end their football career early, according to experts and experts, which sheds light on the mental and psychological problems that surround athletes, especially in global events, including the World Cup. cup.

In recent years, numerous world sports stars have revealed their struggles in dealing with pressure, such as the American gymnastics legend Simone Biles, the famous American swimmer Michael Phelps, his compatriot, basketball player Kevin Love, and the Englishman Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker.

Joining this list today is Dutch national team and Italian Inter full-back Denzel Damfries, who announced that he has resorted to psychological treatment to cope with the pressure after being hit by criticism directed at him during the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar.

In an interview with Dutch TV “NOS”, the 26-year-old said: “It’s true, I could have played better (during the group stage). But I showed mental toughness. I’m happy that I was able to return my credit.”

Dumfries played a key role in leading the Dutch national team to the quarter-finals, although he indicated that “doubt” had begun to creep in following criticism from some former Dutch stars and even the Italian media following his performance as an Inter star.

Depression, anxiety and psychological problems affect an increasing number of people in the world, and young people are among the most vulnerable, according to data from the World Health Organization.

Of course, athletes, and especially footballers, are not excluded from this list in light of the spotlight that has become more wrapped around them as a result of the proliferation of social media and the offensive expressions and attacks on players that they can contain.

Sports medicine expert Walid al-Bayati says that “players are equally susceptible, if not more, to most mental disorders, especially before, during and after major competitions such as the World Cup, Olympics and other tournaments.”

Al-Bayati added, in an interview with Al-Hurr, that “some may think that athletes are extraordinary human beings who are physically flawless, and wonder how they can be depressed, anxious or sometimes attempt suicide?”

“Players also face pressure, both on and off the field, which is sometimes related to their performance, and more often from fans and admirers off the field and on social media,” assures Al-Bayati.

Al-Bayati points out that “these pressures cause mental health challenges for athletes, not only anxiety and depression, but also negatively affect their bodies and performance on a general level.”

In August last year, FIFA launched a campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of mental illness and encourage people to seek help when needed and take everyday action to improve mental health.

FIFA’s campaign featured former and current footballers, including Brazilian star Cafu and celebrated Italian goalkeeper Walter Zenga.

The World Health Organization says 23 percent of current footballers said they suffered from sleep disorders, while 9 percent said they suffered from depression and 7 percent from anxiety.

These numbers are higher among former players, 28 percent of them suffer from sleep disorders, while depression and anxiety affect 13 percent and -11 percent, respectively, according to data from the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO).

Psychological problems in sports should be treated like an ankle injury, said French doctor Vincent Guttebarge, head of the International Olympic Committee’s mental health task force and head of medical services at the Professional Footballers’ Association.

“As athletes, we fear that if we talk about our psychological weaknesses, it will have a detrimental effect on the future employment contract with the club. For this reason, players are reluctant to disclose their psychological problems and become more open about it after retirement,” Gutenberg said in previous interview with Agence France-Presse.

And he adds: “Having negative thoughts once in a while is not a big problem. We can still function well, but we need to identify psychological and mental suffering as early as possible so we can better provide support and prevention, before it becomes a problem.” Clinical”.

In an interview with Dutch television, the 26-year-old Damfries man said he made two video calls to psychotherapist Animiki Zierfeld to help him deal with the criticism leveled at him during the group stage with his country.

The Dutchman was open about it in the Khalifa Stadium mixed area after beating the United States 3-1 with a goal and two assists.

In September, it was reported that Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo was undergoing psychiatric treatment after falling into depression due to his poor form at British club Manchester United.

He said in remarks reported by the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper, “This is the first time I am speaking about this and it is good that I am doing so. I am transparent about this matter.”

He continued: “Mentally it was difficult after the group stage. I had to find inner peace, go back to the basics. I managed to get my dignity back. I am grateful to her,” referring to the psychotherapist who has always been by his side since his professional beginnings at Sparta Rotterdam.

In this context, Al-Bayati highlights the importance of the phrase “better late than never” for players and sports institutions.

Al-Bayati said: “It is very important for sports institutions to establish mental health referral protocols and to ensure the provision of mental health care by qualified professionals to create an environment that supports the mental well-being of players.”

Al-Bayati concludes by saying that “players, for their part, need the help of specialized people to deal with the pressure that comes from fans’ bullying and criticism, whether on the field or through social media.”

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