Sporting bubbles are branded ‘completely UNSUSTAINABLE’ by mental health charity Sporting Minds as athletes see spike in anxiety, addiction and depression while in isolation
The continued use of bio-secure bubbles in sport threatens to cause a huge spike of athletes suffering from depression, addictions and anxiety, world-leading experts have warned.
A Sportsmail investigation lays bare the scale of the mental health challenges facing elite sportspeople, detailing how the damage caused by tightly-controlled environments will linger for years – and possibly forever.
Our report comes as England’s tour to Australia for this winter’s Ashes hangs in the balance amid player concerns about spending more time away from their families in bubbles and quarantine.
Sporting bubbles are ‘completely unsustainable’, warn experts as England’s cricketers continue to be unsure whether to commit to a winter Ashes tour in a biosecure bubble
Mental health charity, Sporting Minds, branded the set-up ‘completely unsustainable’, claiming another 18 months of periodic isolation would lead to a ‘huge spike’ in victims. They have already treated more than 900 athletes over the past two years.
Mind coach Don Macpherson, who says he has almost daily complaints from struggling sportspeople, warned: ‘There’s never been a situation like this that is so threatening to players’ mental wellbeing. It is out of control and threatens to be more out of control.’
He is sure ‘there will be more Ben Stokes’, after the England cricketer became one of a number of high-profile athletes to step away from sport to protect their wellbeing.
Both Ben Stokes (left) and Adam Peaty (right) have stepped away to focus on their wellbeing
Other experts have warned that these problems will not disappear, even when the bubbles burst.
Psychiatrist Claudia Reardon, who works across elite sport and revealed how the pandemic has sparked a surge in eating disorders among athletes, insists: ‘We’re definitely not anywhere near out of the woods.’
She warned that certain stressors can be ‘forever life-changing’, adding: ‘I wouldn’t put a deadline or a finish line on it. I don’t think there is an end.’