Depression an issue in English professional game - survey

LONDON Thu Jan 3, 2013 1:37am IST

Liverpool's Fernando Torres holds his head in his hands after being fouled during their English Premier League soccer match against Bolton Wanderers at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, January 1, 2011. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Liverpool's Fernando Torres holds his head in his hands after being fouled during their English Premier League soccer match against Bolton Wanderers at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, January 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - Depression affects large numbers of footballers in the English professional game according to a survey by soccer magazine Four Four Two.

A preview of February's issue on the magazine's website (www.fourfourtwo.com) said that 78 per cent of 100 professionals surveyed agreed depression is a problem for footballers.

Former Everton, Newcastle United and Wales player Gary Speed was found dead in his home late in 2011 after hanging himself having spoken of "taking his life" according to his wife at the inquest.

In the wake of Speed's death, players' battles with depression became more of an issue and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) sent out advice leaflets to 50,000 ex-players.

Former Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke killed himself by leaping in front of a train in 2009 and his suicide was chronicled in the award-winning book "A Life Too Short."

Former Hull City striker Dean Windass said he had tried to commit suicide early in 2012 and that he had little money left despite earning more than half a million pounds a year at the height of his career which ended in 2010.

Other findings of the survey revealed 43 per cent believe there are too many foreign players in the English game and three-quarters said match tickets are too expensive.

(Reporting by Tom Pilcher, Editing by Alan Baldwin)

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