The World Heavyweight Champion of Overcoming Mental Health Struggles
Right now, Tyson Fury is the most feared man on Earth, and probably the most revered in boxing. After defeating Deontay Wilder on Saturday, Fury became the undisputed world heavyweight champion of the world, unifying all four titles (there’s four major boxing organizations, each with their own set of championship belts). But ask him what’s his most satisfying victory ever, and he’ll definitely say his victory over suicidal thoughts.
Fury appeared on The Rich Eisen Show over the summer and spoke about his struggles. During the interview, he detailed his mental battles, even talking about going to take his own life while he held one of the heavyweight titles. The importance of this is paramount: here’s a world-class athlete baring his soul on the world stage and validating his experience with mental health issues.
Let me tell you what this will do, as he so eloquently put it. What’ll happen, and what has already been happening, is that more and more young fans are becoming comfortable with coming out about their own issues, particularly after Fury spoke about how false bravado was a big societal factor when he was growing up outside of Manchester, England.
Now, it’s time to put a plan into action about firmly addressing mental health issues in sports. The idea has been floated and many players in various sports have come out and addressed their issues. But now is the time for the leagues and organizations to actually put together coalitions and initiatives to address, deal with and treat these problems.
As someone who deals with mental health issues himself, I feel this is incredibly important. 1 in 5 American adults deal with mental health issues. I bet that statistic would accurately carry over to the global stage. So, this needs to be done. Because mental health problems kill more people than almost anything else, and mental health issues make life hell. Support from popular sports leagues would help tremendously.