Background Mental health in sport is a hard-hitting topic that is frequently the subject of news coverage and increasingly a theme for avid research. Some suggest that cricketers, participating in a game unique in its statistical analysis of individual performance, prolonged periods of play away from home and extended solitary game time to reflect on errors, may be especially prone to developing depression. This hypothesis is supported by a higher rate of suicide among male Test cricketers when compared with the UK male general population.1
Methods This study ascertained rates of anxiety and depression by screening professional cricket players using the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire (GAD–7) and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ–9). It also investigate whether professional cricket players perceive stress and anxiety to be beneficial to their sporting performance. 21 male professional cricketers were included in this anonymous questionnaire based study.
Results Six players had a positive depression screen, five scoring mild and one scoring moderate. Additionally, six players had a positive anxiety screen, four scoring mild and two ?players within the moderate range. Fifteen players thought pre-match stress and anxiety was beneficial to their sporting performance. Of these, nine thought slight, five thought fair and one thought considerable levels were optimal.
Conclusions Undiagnosed anxiety and depression may exist in professional cricket teams and as such better screening is required. The majority of players feel some level of stress and tension are beneficial for their performance, with a slight amount being the most common perceived optimum.
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