MENTAL HEALTH – It was a month and a half ago. Rugby player Jordan Michallet, who opens half of the Rouen club, committed suicide by falling from a building under construction on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
“No gesture, no word, no action could assume such a gesture, because this gesture really represented the opposite of Jordan,” declared his wife Noélie, a guest on the Canal Rugby Club show on Sunday 6 March. She confided in an interview available on Canal + about her husband’s death before “condemning all the suffering that players may feel throughout their careers or even afterwards”.
“Unthinkable to let go of the team”
Jordan Michallet, whom she describes as a sunny person, “was through a short week with a drop in morale as it can happen to anyone” Noélie explains. But “he has always had this smile on his face”, she emphasizes, especially at the thought of becoming a father.
“Very tired morally and physically”, the opening half did not dare to pause. “He said to me, ‘I have no right to let go of the team.’ his teammates, his team ”, explains Noélie.
If she regrets that her husband did not dare talk about it, she emphasizes it “Unfortunately, a player is always ashamed to admit his weaknesses, always ashamed to say he is not doing well, always ashamed to say that he is tired. I really think he was afraid to judge. ”.
“No player dares to talk about it”
Since her husband’s disappearance, Noélie has received many testimonies from athletes, both French and foreign. “Nobody told me he had not had depression in his career “, she insists before continuing: »No player dares to talk about it […] It is an environment where you always have to be strong, you always have to give the best of yourself. We can play with injuries, but we keep playing, we can have extreme pain during the matches, but we do not allow ourselves to get out of the match ”.
For her, he isessential to have people in all the accompanying clubs, not to have even more performances, but to prevent this kind of drama ”. She does not see depression as a weakness.
The testimony enabled him to understand “qit was not just Jordan and I could really feel the discomfort of some players ”. It is in that sense she now wants to commit: “If I can find a fight to improve players’ moral health and that it can help me get up every morning, then I would do it,” she concludes.
The mental health of athletes is increasingly emphasized
Noélie Michallet’s testimony echoes other statements. In June 2021, tennis player Naomi Osaka had retired from Roland-Garros, to recover from “long periods of depression”. Then it was gymnastics champion Simone Biles who had given up several competitions at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer. “PTo bring up the issue of mental health again, I think we need to talk a lot more about it, especially with athletes, ”she said. Recently, Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios said he had “suicidal thoughts” on Instagram.
In late 2020, a study conducted by the Ethics and Sports Committee showed that 80% of the 1,200 athletes surveyed had already felt lack of energy, sadness or lack of self-confidence. The consideration of psychology in sport is still uneven in France. In an interview at HuffPost in December 2021, basketball player Gary Florimont and volleyball player Myriam Kloster confided that “everything needs to be done” in France.
Former soccer player Thierry Henry urges him to definitely break the taboo on the sides of The team this Monday, March 7: “We are in 2022, we must open up. If a player has a mental or other problem, let him say it […]. When it all comes together, it’s very difficult. It should no longer be taboo. Talk! ‘I’m not scared’, ‘I’m not in pain’, it’s not true, it does not exist, ”he says.
Also look at The HuffPost: “Support for Simone Biles grows after her retirement”