Depression in rugby: how they help players avoid the worst

Depression is an increasingly visible phenomenon in rugby with freedom of speech. (©Illustration Icon Sport)

January 18, 2022. One year ago, the opening of Rouen, Jordan Michallet, was found dead after falling from the fourth floor at the bottom of the building under construction. His companion took the floor to discuss Noel the pressure players and depressions, which weigh a lot, as a result. To put into words what happened to 29-year-old Jordan.

Depression : the word is over. It is becoming more and more visible in his world rugby. Both active players and old ones (for the most part). The afterlife is a big gap for some. And it’s not easy to deal with. At the same time, speech becomes free, and this creates conditions for the event to be revealed.

A former column through Agen, Castres, Bayonne, Brive and Mont-de-Marsan with our colleagues from rugbyrama.fr, Anton Peikrishvili, coolly testified. He has been suffering from depression for about 7 months. “As soon as I close my eyes, a voice comes in my head with a hammer: “Look at yourself: you are evil. You are done. Everyone forgot you. You don’t deserve to live.” I can’t silence this voice. I can’t anymore…” the Georgian humbly admitted.

Depression: Cell in Provale

How can players be helped to avoid worst-case scenarios? ProofThe Professional Rugby Players Association decided to address the issue head on. In 2019, the department of psychology was established.

Previously, since 2012, there was only a toll-free number. This was common to FNASS, the Federation that unites all professional sports associations in France. The toll-free number was reserved for calls on Thursday afternoon. In short, very little.

The current executive director of Provale, Mathieu Giudicelli, when he arrived in 2019, he put the file on the table. Depression, the word resonated at the end of the player’s career, “living through a very complicated period.” The former column passed by Montpellier, Tarbes or Biarritz had to sideline the crampons wildly due to a serious injury.

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“When this happened to me, I had no means to meet my needs. So I proposed to the Provale Management Committee that it would be dedicated to rugby only and that the participants from rugby would have the same codes as the players. Rugby is a unique sport with no room for weakness.

Former players as psychologists

Provale then embarked on the adventure, convinced that players needed help with the phenomenon of depression. “It was not easy, because rugby players have become psychological, he does not run in the streets”, Mathieu Giudicelli expresses. The Union finds as a result of the investigation Pat Barnard. The former Brive columnist, who is also bilingual, graduated in psychology from the University of London.

The effect is immediate: the number of requests during startup is very high. “Very quickly the needs poured in and Pat found himself in the juice, at the same time as Covid came to the point where the players felt isolated.” Provale then found a second man Miles Bonnin, a former player. “Mylis and Pat are very ready, very attentive, passionate. And they put in a lot of effort,” he says Rugby news CEO of Provale.

Former columnist, French Federal 1 champion Frédéric Vaudeville died tragically at the age of 49.
Provale’s psychological section is open to everyone, including professional players and players from the amateur world. (©Icon Sports)

Depression for a player: what steps?

Founded by Provale, the unit provides end-to-end, personalized psychological support for all players who need it. Support is paid by the association. “No one pays. It can last from several weeks to several months. We have players who have been followed for a while,” admitted Mathieu Guidicelli.

However, any player (pro or amateur, male or female) in need, who feels they are suffering from depression, should take the initiative to approach Proval for support. The union surveys the area, identifies suspicious behavior to anticipate the worst and prevent it.

Mathieu Guidicelli appliesRugby news “What is extremely important is the player’s environment, be it family, friends or teammates. He should watch and if something happens, don’t hesitate to catch us.” Awareness must be shared to fight depression.

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