Gabriel Medina, Champion Surfer, Retired from Season to Focus on Mental Health

1 world champion surfer, Gabriel Medina, said Monday that he will not compete in the 2022 World Surfing Federation season and will instead focus on his mental health. .

Medina, 28, from São Paulo, Brazil, said: “The past few months have been a difficult time for me personally and it has taken a heavy toll. He added, “I’m not in a place where I believe I can compete with the best surfers in the world right now and I need to focus on my health.”

Notice from Mr. Medina, a veteran of the sport who has won three world titles, including one last year, one after the other Featured Athletes similar people have prioritized their mental health over competition in recent years, forcing the sports community to face competitive pressures.

During the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last summer, Simone Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, withdrew from part of the competition, quote mental health problems. Naomi Osaka, tennis champion, highest paid female athlete in the world, withdraw from the French Open last year, said she had been dealing with “prolonged bouts of depression” since she 2018 US Open champion. And the basketball players A’ja Wilson, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin love spoke publicly about their depression.

“It’s an old problem,” says Ross Flowers, a Los Angeles-based sports psychologist whose client list includes Olympic athletes and professional and college teams. “I think as a society we have become more accepting to hear some public figures really open up and talk about what is affecting them, or maybe even hindering them. their activities.”

Mr. Medina’s decision, Dr. Flowers said, “continues to pay more attention to the need to recognize mental health” in athletes.

Mr. Medina hinted in September that he will not compete in the 2022 season. He said LANCE!, a Brazilian sports news website, that at least for a while, he needs to “stop thinking about competing” and it’s time for him to “take a break”.

In his Instagram Posted on Monday, he said he was intent on competing this season after preparing mentally and physically while getting his Covid vaccine during the holiday season. But he went through “a roller coaster of emotions at home and abroad” last year and felt “completely exhausted,” he said.

In addition to overcoming a minor injury to his hip, Mr. Medina said, he also wants to mend his feelings.

“Admitting and admitting to myself that I am unwell is a very difficult process and choosing to take time to take care of myself was probably the hardest decision I have ever made in my entire life,” he said. Medina said, adding that he will return to the sport whenever he feels he can.

Cybil Streett, a sports psychotherapist in Orange County, California, says some of her clients are surfers who struggle with trauma and sometimes feel emotionally overwhelmed during the procedure. recuperate.

Surfing, she says, is a sport with many variables: wave strength, weather, and wind direction. Those variables can burn athletes out over time, she said.

Erik Logan, chief executive officer of the World Surf League, said in a statement that “the health and safety of our athletes is of paramount importance and we fully support its decision.” Gabriel in prioritizing his health.”

Last year, the league rearranged its schedule and overhauled the way it won championships. Usually, surfers accumulate points at events year-round, sometimes knowing who will win the championship before the final event in Hawaii begins.

But under the new playoff system, there is one day of surfing among the top five surfers.

Mr. Medina said last year that he didn’t like the new system because it wasn’t fair.

“You spend your life, a long year, and now that the last event in September will you decide your whole year?” he said in September.

John Macri, a sports psychologist in Ridgewood, N.J., says that as more athletes like Mr. Medina become more open about their mental health, the “stigmatization of keeping things in lockers doesn’t go away.” there’s more”.

“I commend him for that,” he said. “Other athletes hope to do the same and not neglect their health.” Gabriel Medina, Champion Surfer, Retired from Season to Focus on Mental Health

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