Pro Athletes Still Can’t Be Open About Their Mental Health

The fact that this story was even written, is a microcosm of everything wrong w the way MH is viewed in our society. It’s sickening.

Here’s the background – a great guy we’ve spoken w a bunch, Noah Rubin (a young 20’s tennis pro, himself), started a program called “Behind The Racquet” where similar to our hero stories, tennis players reveal some of their own struggles.

In one of his content pieces, pro tennis phenom, Coco Gauff revealed in her convo an earlier time period when she felt depressed. I’m gonna quote from the article below, to be fair. This is her describing when she was 13 & made a run in a Major:

“I just found myself not enjoying what I loved. I realized I needed to start playing for myself & not other people. For about a yr I was really depressed. That was the toughest yr for me so far. It felt like there weren’t many friends there for me.” Gauff also said she was close to taking a year off from tennis “to just focus on life.”

Now, even after talking about how this experience made her stronger (more Major runs, & she is now 16): “I came out of it stronger & knowing myself better than ever. Everyone asks me how I stay calm on court & I think it’s because I accepted who I am after overcoming low points in my life. Now, when I’m on court, I am just really thankful to be out there.” Her parents below, backtracked on what she shared, & she wasn’t made available to the media. This from her father:

“She was never clinically depressed, never diagnosed w depression, never seen anybody about depression. There’s no medicine going on. This is a kid’s personal pressure that they put on themselves & how they deal with it & how they mature.”

Why is this even a topic of discussion?? It’s bc of the impact of the WORD, DIAGNOSIS & ADMITTANCE of “depression.” If she sprained her MCL vs tore it, as long as she got back on tour after healing (like she did w her MH), would it matter what the severity of her physical ailment was? No way.

MH lives on a continuum. Whether clinically depressed or a period or depression, bottom line, she struggled.  The problem is our society. There are still two buckets – the “sick” vs the “healthy” & it sooo so bad for how we move forward.

Why did our buddy Robin Lehner struggle to get contracts for more than 1 or 2 yrs despite having top 10 goalie stats for multiple seasons? Because of labels. I dont blame Noah for the interview. I dont blame Coco for her words. I don’t even blame her dad for back peddling. I blame a society, a system, the media, other nonprofits, who still engage in this idea of a thick line btwn sick & healthy. THAT is what’s not healthy & it stops by us educating, boots on the ground, in schools. 

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