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From depression to suicide, the tragic end that is repeated in sport

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From depression to suicide, the tragic end that is repeated in sport

Sports Writing, .- Depression, pointed out as the cause that led Tori Bowie, triple Olympic medalist in Rio 2016, to commit suicide, has reopened the debate on the incidence of an almost invisible disease that, according to recent studies, affects 6% of the population and 21 out of every 100 elite athletes.

The American specialist in 100 and 200 meters had not competed since June 4, 2022. According to her neighbors in Winter Garden, a sought-after suburb of Orlando, she rarely left home, but often had serious personal conflicts.

From her environment it was said that she was burdened by large debts and, sadder still, that she was seven months pregnant.

While the first investigations ruled out evidence of violence at Bowie’s house, where policemen arrived last week alerted because “no movements were observed inside for days”, the press published details and testimonies that accounted for his complex emotional situation. .

The validity of the media’s findings was soon confirmed by singer Paul Askew, a close friend of the 32-year-old sprinter who was born in a humble home in Mississippi.

“Depression is real, please take care of your people. You never know what their minds may be battling against,” Askew wrote, lamenting the tragic end of the double world champion in London 2017 in 100 meters and 4×100, and bronze in the 100 in Beijing 2015.


Depression was identified in 2022 by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the disease that affects 300 million people.

The entity calculates that by 2050 it will be the main health problem, a terrifying scenario, since it acts as if it were invisible, and for many, like Tori Bowie, it is the door to suicide.

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Today, it is believed that in the world every 40 seconds a person takes their own life, that is, almost a million every year. But we must not lose sight of the number of those who try.

It is paradoxical, since it has always been stated that the practice of sport is beneficial for physical and mental health.

However, doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists, physical trainers and coaches agree in highlighting the effects that the demands of the profession pose to athletes, which can be brutal.

Demands such as those derived from pressure from sponsors or federations for superlative results, or the anguish that generates bad moments or slow recovery injuries that undermine athletic conditions.

These factors unleash fear of failure or, what is worse, precipitate the end of a career.

In America these have been the most lamented cases.


On May 9, 2010, the foundations of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) were shaken by the news of the death of Erica Blasberg at her residence in Henderson, about 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

Police found the body of the 25-year-old with a plastic bag tied over her head.

After 107 days of silence and speculation, the coroner’s office concluded that he said Blasberg died of suffocation, and that the body bore toxic traces of medication, including a prescription-only pain reliever, as well as other cough drugs, pain and anxiety.

He had reached professionalism six years earlier. His best LPGA year was 2008, when he tied for eighth at the SBS Open in Hawaii. That season she racked up $113,000 in earnings, according to the LPGA, but by then she was saying she felt lonely.

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