Soccer Sport

Former Referee Reveals How Man Utd Star Sent ‘Moving’ Letter Following Suicide Attempt

Depression can tragically go unnoticed in many professions, particularly sport. 

Germany suffered two of the most public stories of mental illness in the beautiful game, after goalkeeper Robert Enke committed suicide at the age of 32 in 2009, and two years later former referee Babak Rafati failed in an attempt on his own life, which landed him in hospital.

According to Swiss Newspaper Blick​, the Manchester United star Bastian Schweinsteiger, then of Bayern Munich, was one to reach out to Rafati during a tough time in his life and career.

The 46 year old said: “I woke in a hospital bed. It was a terrible moment, and my first thought was that I would plan things next time I tried to kill myself and do the job properly.

“I had been bullied for 18 months beforehand. People wanted to get rid of me for telling the truth. Since my suicide attempt no-one from the German FA has been in touch, but all my fellow refs got in contact.

“And Bastian Schweinsteiger wrote me a letter that moved me greatly. There was no ulterior motive on his part, as he knew that I would no longer be able to referee after this incident.

babak rafati Former Referee Reveals How Man Utd Star Sent ‘Moving’ Letter Following Suicide Attempt process url http 3A 2F 2F90min images original

“He wrote: ‘Mr Rafati, people often make mistakes in life, but we simply have to make comebacks even more often. I wish you all the very best.’

“It was an incredibly big human gesture on his part. Depression is still a huge taboo in football. Since that time I have been working as a mind coach with three Bundesliga players.

“I can rule out wanting to kill myself again. I now know that I was crazy, and life is too beautiful to destroy oneself.”

Schweinsteiger’s words clearly had a great effect on the former Bundesliga referee, who has written a book about struggling with depression during his refereeing career.

Source : 90MIN

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