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Depression can affect everyone, even soccer players

These three Latin American soccer players suffered from depression.

Ramiro Castillo and Santiago Garcia

Photos: Sports.ea, ole.ar

LatinAmerican Post | Thomas Handley

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Leer en español: La depresión puede afectar a todos, incluso a los futbolistas

Many times we make the mistake of dehumanizing soccer players. We see them on television in games, interviews. We see them celebrating goals, titles, or other achievements in the craziest ways. Maybe that makes us believe that they live a dream life, but many times they do not. Beyond being professional athletes, and having the job that many of us would long to have, they also have a life off the soccer field. In them, they have problems like in any other person, and of course, they are not exempt from suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression. In some cases, they even make the decision to kill themselves. It should be noted that both Castillo and García have no known medical diagnosis of depression.

Ramiro "Chocolatín" Castillo

The Bolivian midfielder who participated in the 1994 Soccer World Cup with his national team, received the news that his 7-year-old son Juan Manuel had been hospitalized for presenting a serious case of hepatitis. Two days later, the little boy passed away. The pain and anguish caused by such an event were unsustainable for Castillo. On the morning of October 18, 1997, his body was found dead in his home south of La Paz, hanged with a tie.

Ramiro Castillo was part of 9 clubs in addition to playing for the Bolivian national team. Among them, River Plate (Arg), The Strongest (Bol), and Bolívar (Bol) stand out. He was honored by teammates and rivals with a minute of silence. The Bolivian Football Federation declared 30 days of mourning for his loss.

Raimundo Tupper

Born in Santiago de Chile on January 7, 1969, Raimundo "Mumo" Tupper played as a forward at Universidad Católica for 10 years. The footballer was affected by an endogenous depression, which is not related to external factors, but biological or hereditary. Due to this, during a trip to Costa Rica with his team, where he was going to play a series of friendlies, Tupper threw himself from the balcony of the ninth floor of the hotel where the team was staying, ending his life.

To this day, in the mountains of San Carlos de Apoquindo, a white cross is reminiscent of "Mumo." As a tribute, the former Soccer Complex in the same Chilean neighborhood was renamed with his name. His biography was also published in 2009 under the name Mumo… por siempre. The National Professional Football Association (ANFP) annually awards an award with the name of Raimundo Tupper to the most correct player of the season.

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Santiago "El Morro" García

Performing in the forward position, the Uruguayan footballer had everything agreed by word of mouth to return to Nacional, the club where he debuted in 2008. Said pass was frustrated due to the impossibility of terminating the contract with Godoy Cruz. Added to this, and after being removed from the squad for football reasons and later for testing positive for Covid-19, after his death, harsh statements by club leaders to his person emerged. It is unknown if there were other factors external to the sport that plunged him into a deep depression, which led him to end his life. On February 6, 2021, his body was found with a fatal gunshot wound that would later be classified as a suicide.

The Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba de Mendoza club decided to remove shirt number 18 from its squad, used by García during his time at the institution. Given the impossibility of Nacional's desire to watch him at the Gran Parque Central Stadium for health reasons due to the pandemic, the funeral procession was able to pass through the door of that place, where hundreds of fans gathered to see him off.