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Batting against mental health in elite cricket
  1. Hassan Jamaal Sadiq Mahmood1,
  2. Daniel Jonah Friedman2
  1. 1 Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hassan Jamaal Sadiq Mahmood, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK; hassanmahmood{at}nhs.net

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Elite athletes have always struggled with mental health. This is not news. But it does seem to be featured more often in newspapers and newsfeeds. Although sport is protective for mental health, athletes suffer from similar rates of anxiety, depression and substance abuse as the general population.1 Just as the sport and exercise medicine community are calling for more athlete mental health support through international consensus statements,2 the public are also waking up to athletes’ daily battles on and off the pitch. Now is the time to ensure cricket is not left behind.

Why cricket?

In many countries, cricket is inseparable from religion and culture; players are worshipped by billions. The select few who represent their nation carry incredible responsibility—and failure leads to ultimate shame and financial insecurity. Cricket shines an unforgiving spotlight on individual players who can spend 300 days a year away from home.3 Statistical analysis of individual performance combined with extended time alone to reflect on errors likely predisposes cricketers to anxiety, depression and burnout.4

To make matters worse, ubiquitous and relentless social media prevents cricketers …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @Hassanmahmooddr, @ddfriedman

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The twitter handle for Dr Mahmood has been added.

  • Contributors HM was responsible for the conception and initial draft of the manuscript. DJF was involved in revised drafting and critical revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests DJF is an associate editor for BJSM.

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