Thursday 21 November 2019

'Burnt-out' Trott has trivialised depression

England cricketer Jonathan Trott
England cricketer Jonathan Trott

When England batsman Jonathan Trott pulled out of their tour to Australia after a terrible performance in the first Test, and cited a long-term stress-related illness as the reason, the reaction was predictable.

Trott was lauded for his heroism in admitting to depression, there was even a suggestion that by doing so he had become the player of the series, and the admission was used by the English media as both a distraction from England's failure and a stick to beat the Aussies with. The home team's sledging, it was implied, had exacerbated Trott's illness. Brutes.

Anyone who'd suggested that Trott wasn't depressed at all and was actually making up a story to get out of the tour because he was tired and out of form would have been condemned for their unforgivable hardness of heart. But that's precisely what was going on as Trott admitted last week. "I'm not crazy, I'm just burnt out," said our erstwhile hero, displaying a somewhat less than sensitive attitude to those actually suffering from depression.

Michael Vaughan has been scathing about Trott's volte-face, saying the player's team-mates had been "conned". He speculated that, "We are starting to use stress-related illness and depression too quickly for players under pressure". Vaughan is not uncaring about mental health issues, one of his chief problems with Trott is that the player's dishonesty trivialises depression.

But he's hit the nail on the head. Not every public confession by a sportsman is a true one. Before we start congratulating ourselves on our 'compassion', perhaps we should judge these confessions as rigorously as we judge any other public statement. Not everyone who claims to have been depressed or addicted is a hero. Some of them aren't even depressed or addicted. Like Trott, they're seeking sympathy for themselves rather than thinking about the effect on genuine sufferers.

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IRELAND'S cricketers are used to setting records, and although they were on the losing side on Friday against the Netherlands, the match was notable for two new records.

The 19 sixes scored by the Netherlands set a new mark for an innings and when added to the 11 hoisted over the boundary by Ireland, the total of 30 sixes is a record for a T20 match. It beat the previous mark of 24 set by New Zealand against India in February 2009 and matched by Australia against the same opposition in May 2010.

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Olympian turned strength and conditioning coach Martina McCarthy has come out of retirement and is set to represent Ireland once more, but in a different sport. The former athlete has been selected on the Irish women's rugby sevens squad and heads to China tomorrow to compete in the fourth round of the World Series. McCarthy, who now trains Derval O'Rourke, competed in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

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When one of the Olympic rings failed to open during the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in Sochi, many were happy to point and laugh at the technical glitch.

Although it was an embarrassing situation for the organisers, a Russian businessman, Dmitry Medvedev, is trying to use the four rings symbol to his advantage by patenting it to advertise his construction company World Masterpieces. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declared it is "opposed" to the patenting as it is too similar to the Olympic Logo.

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A networking night for the sport and business communities will be held in Croke Park on Wednesday next from 6-9pm. It's the first such event and interest levels are high.

"We'll have open discussions around digital media, women's sport and technology in sport and we are expecting a crowd of around 150," says organiser Rob Hartnett, founder of sportforbusiness.com. "There will be three 'Spark' discussions on the main platform to help get the discussion flowing throughout the room. These will be in the areas of Wearable Technology and Sport, Lessons in Leadership, Social Media Activation around Sport."

Money raised on the night will be donated to the sports development programme of UNICEF.

Eamonn Sweeney, Fergus McDonnell

and Marie Crowe

ssport@independent.ie

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