Villaflor: Down

WHEN depression, like a dark, heavy fog, fills the mind with an insuperable longing to fall, few stand a chance.

And yet I’ve always thought that those who are into sports are better equipped in dealing with depression.

Conventional wisdom has it that engaging in sports makes us happy because it triggers the release of chemicals in the body that make us feel good, in particular endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.

And this is why, at the onset, the news of a young gifted footballer who took his own life filled me with disbelief.

Understandably, there are few details as to why he took his own life, but at least on social media, depression is seen as the culprit.

Still, I cannot begin to imagine the grief that his loved ones and all those who hold him dear felt upon learning of his fate.

But as a parent who is raising two athletes, the confirmation of this young man’s death, even if we don’t know him personally, shook me to the core.

I’ve always seen sports as the safe space that builds character and “toughens” them up while keeping them happy at the same time. Conventional wisdom be damned.

I look at the photographs of the 16-year-old student athlete, all smiles, chin up and upright, and I see the faces of my children who play the same sport with the same passion; one is 18 while the other just turned 10 this month.

And then I think of the manner in which he took his life and I am filled with dread because there is no explaining why it happened.

Perhaps it is a sentiment other parents feel right now, many of whom could not hold back tears each time they read about this beloved young achiever and his sense of purpose, dreams, ambitions, and everything that makes parents proud.

No doubt that the footballer’s death will shed more light on depression within the community as it is much closer to home.

And hopefully, no one should ever take depression lightly ever again so that others might be saved.


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