Australian cricketer Tim Paine, Australian wicketkeeper and captain designate has taken ‘indefinite mental health break’, his manager has informed the world. The important decision has put the preparations for the forthcoming Ashes series in jeopardy. It has managed to put a global spotlight on the taboo subject of mental health in sports.
Though even today, mental health is a subject that people tend to laugh off or ignore as imaginary, the decision of an international athlete like Tim Paine is an indication of the fact that a growing number of people are taking mental health issues seriously.
When people see the glamour in big sports, few realize the immense pressure on the performers which takes a toll on their mental health. Also, mental health concerns are not limited to big-time athletes only, a travelling salesman in pressure for completing his monthly targets and about to skip his monthly installment for his two-wheeler can also be facing terrible mental health issues.
Tim Paine was cleared in 2018 after being investigated for sending sexually explicit text messages to a female former Cricket Tasmania (CT) staffer four years ago. He has announced that he will not be available for cricket for the “foreseeable future”. Cricket Australia has expressed respect and understanding towards Tim’s decision to have a break to focus on his and his family’s well-being
Tim is the latest in the list of international-level sportsperson who chose not to ignore mental health. American gymnast Simone Biles, considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all times, withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics, when the whole country was pining their Gold medal hopes on her.
In her words, she felt like carrying “the weight of the world” on her shoulders and though, she was making it look easy, it was not. ” we’re human, too,” Biles had said “We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”
Earlier in the year, No. 2-ranked player in the world, Tennis star Naomi Osaka too decided to remain away from the French Open and withdraw from Wimbledon to give priority to her mental health.” It’s OK to not be OK; and it’s OK to talk about it,” Osaka had said
Athletes have a message of which tells others who are struggling to put their own needs first.