The rise of eSports: are addiction and corruption the price of its success?

Forget football, the world’s fastest-growing sport is live video gaming. But increasingly its impact is proving harmful to those involved

If you had been away from the planet for the past quarter of a century, one of the few things you might find comfortingly familiar on your return is the world of sport. While the digital revolution has transformed the way we shop, chat, date, do politics and consume culture, sport looks largely unchanged. From football to cricket to golf, it’s still the same old staples, hitting a ball into a hole or goal or over a boundary. There hasn’t been a major new sport invented for more than a century. Or has there?

In the East End of London, Sam Mathews is holding court at Fnatic’s HQ, otherwise known as the Bunkr. A pop-up shop that opened last December, it is marketed as the “world’s first eSports concept store” and is as knowingly hip as its Shoreditch surroundings. Here at the Bunkr, you can buy eSports equipment, meet players, view streamed events and even watch matches live.

Related: Hashtag United, Wimbly Womblys and the virtual gamers striking it rich

Related: Sport 2.0: crumbling traditions create a whole new ballgame | Sean Ingle

Related: Sebastian Coe: ‘Athletics needs to be innovative, braver and more creative’

Related: Golf fights old perceptions and drop in players to attract new audience | Ewan Murray

I ask if he will give me the most powerful shock he gives patients. The impact is violent. I still feel it hours later

Continue reading…

Ronald Koeman says Aaron Lennon has full support in recovery from illness

• Everton manager pledges long-term backing over stress-related condition
• Koeman suggests social media adds to pressure on modern-day footballers

Ronald Koeman has said Everton will give Aaron Lennon all the time he needs to recover from a stress-related illness and insisted Premier League clubs do provide support for players with mental health problems.

The Everton winger is receiving treatment having been detained under the Mental Health Act on Sunday by police who were concerned for the 30‑year‑old’s welfare. Koeman admitted he has not encountered a situation like Lennon’s during his managerial career but believes the players of today are under greater pressure due to social media and the profile of the sport. The manager assured Lennon that Everton’s only concern is that he makes a full recovery, however long that takes.

Related: Ronald Koeman vows to see out Everton contract despite Barcelona ‘dream’

Continue reading…

Requests for help with mental-health problems on rise, says footballers’ union

• PFA reveals 160 current and former players asked for help last year
• Frank Bruno adds message of support for Everton’s Aaron Lennon

The number of footballers seeking help for mental health problems is rising, the Professional Footballers’ Association has said.

Aaron Lennon continues to receive treatment for a stress-related illness after the Everton winger was detained under the Mental Health Act on Sunday after Greater Manchester police became concerned for his welfare on a busy road in Salford. Lennon, who has won 21 England caps, was taken to hospital and is continuing to receive care with the support of his club.

Related: Clarke Carlisle on Aaron Lennon: ‘I don’t want anyone to experience what I did’

Related: Aaron Lennon: Everton winger receives treatment for stress-related illness

Continue reading…

Clarke Carlisle on Aaron Lennon: ‘I don’t want anyone to experience what I did’

In a column for the Guardian the former PFA chairman and Premier League defender discusses football’s inadequate provision for mental health issues and calls for action

When I first heard the news about Aaron Lennon, there was a feeling of sadness because I don’t want anyone to experience what I’ve been through. But it was also a feeling of relief.

My former team-mate at Leeds has got to the crisis point that I hit but he has now entered the support system and has the opportunity to address what is going on, rehabilitate himself and live a full and blessed life.

Related: Aaron Lennon: Everton winger receives treatment for stress-related illness

Related: Requests for help with mental-health problems on rise, says footballers’ union

Continue reading…

‘Athletes die two times’: Australian stars reveal post-retirement struggles

  • Lauren Jackson says she misused medication during basketball career
  • Stephanie Rice talks about loss of pride and confidence after retiring

Some high-profile Australian athletes, including Olympic and world champions, have opened up on their post-sport difficulties in a revealing ABC documentary.

After the Game, an ABC TV’s Four Corners investigation that aired on Monday night, featured interviews with a range of prominent athletes, including Lauren Jackson and Stephanie Rice.

Related: Australia’s Olympics-sized brawl: a tale of prestige, power and big money

Continue reading…

Czech Republic’s Frantisek Rajtoral found dead in suspected suicide

• Gaziantepspor midfielder won 14 caps for his country
• FifPro says more must be done to support current players

The president of Turkish side Gaziantepspor has confirmed reports that Czech Republic international Frantisek Rajtoral killed himself at his home over the weekend, with the chief medical officer of international players’ union warning more needs to be done to combat mental illness among current professionals.

The 31-year-old, who played 14 times for his country and was part of the squad that reached the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, was reportedly found hanged after Gaziantepspor alerted authorities to his absence on Sunday.

Related: The tragedy of Robert Enke’s life story can teach us all a lesson | Amy Lawrence

Continue reading…

Prince William: suicide callout shed light on men’s mental health

Duke of Cambridge says dealing with male suicides in his work as an air ambulance pilot helped him understand scale of issue


The Duke of Cambridge has spoken of his shock at being called out to his first suicide as an air ambulance pilot in a joint interview with his brother, Prince Harry, on tackling masculinity and mental health issues.

Related: ‘So low sometimes’: why Stormzy talking about his depression is so important | Kamran Ahmed

Continue reading…

The mental health benefits of boxing

Prince Harry has revealed that he found boxing to be a good way of relieving aggression – but he’s not the first to find refuge in the ring

If it takes a prince to alert the nation to the safety-valve powers of boxing in coping with mental stress – as Prince Harry has done this week – Frank Bruno, who has rubbed shoulders with royalty and struggled with mental health issues, will surely lead the applause.

The former world heavyweight champion, now 55, has been sectioned three times since he retired in 1996 and came perilously close to being institutionalised for life. He has suffered more through mental trauma than from any bruises to body or spirit absorbed in 45 bouts over 14 years as a professional boxer. Paradoxically, he says boxing has also saved him.

Continue reading…