The American football community was rocked by the suicide of Rashaan Salaam in December of 2016. According to Rolling Stone magazine, the famed football player had won a Heisman trophy, but was later labelled a “bust” or a failure in the media. His mental state grew worse over time, culminating in the suicide.

Early Success

At age 20, Salaam Rashaan experienced the pinnacle of football success. He was the fourth college player to exceed 2,000 rushing yards in one season, and the young running back received the Heisman Trophy for his achievements. For Rashaan Salaam, a bright burst of success in 1994 was followed by media criticism as his career waned.

Depression and Suicide

Over the years, Salaam experienced periods of severe depression. In 2016, he withdrew from everyone, spending all his time at home in his rented condo. Sometimes he went alone to buy groceries or visit a local bar, but more often, he stayed indoors.

One night, Salaam drove his old car to the University of Colorado campus. He parked near Boulder Creek, took out a revolver, and shot himself.

Warning Signs and Possible Causes

Friends were surprised and saddened by his death. They remembered him as someone with a beautiful smile and a happy, pleasant manner. But they wondered if his early achievements at age 20 had robbed him of some of his purpose in life. His expectations were unfulfilled, his purpose gone. Some friends also mentioned noticing mood swings and bouts of depression, possibly connected to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of repeated brain injury that often affects American football players.

Injuries and Recovery for Football Players

Players of American football often endure severe injuries. It is a rough, full-contact sport, and in spite of heavy protective gear, the players suffer from frequent blows to the head and body. When there’s a debilitating injury, such as a torn tendon or a broken bone, players are taken off the field and kept out of play for weeks during the healing process. Great care is taken to ensure that their body heals properly, and they sometimes go through therapy and other treatments so that they can play again, just as well as before.

However, American football players don’t enjoy the same luxury and healing time when it comes to their brains and their mental health. They are viewed as tough, manly guys, men who don’t get depressed or sad or emotional, unless it’s about football. A player with poor mental health might be mocked rather than supported.

Mental Health Help in Singapore

For someone who has been dramatically successful, life may seem rather empty and unfulfilling after the moment of achievement has passed. It’s important to find new goals and a new purpose. In addition, people who may have sustained traumatic brain injuries should recognise that they are more susceptible to poor mental health in Singapore or wherever they may live.

If you or someone you know is having trouble finding joy or purpose in life, visit Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. In our secure, confidential offices, you can speak with a trained psychiatrist who can help you identify symptoms and define a course of treatment. With therapy and other help, you can find new purpose, balance mood swings, and experience joy in your life again.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source:Rolling Stone, 29 August 2017; NY Times, 6 Dec, 2016