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Concerns over athletes' mental health grows after Silver Ferns captain takes break from sport

One of New Zealand's most high-profile national sports captains, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, has announced she will be taking a break from netball, citing fatigue.

Concerns over athletes' mental health grows after Silver Ferns captain takes break from sport

The Silver Ferns captain will miss the start of the national netball premiership after stating she is exhausted and haivng issues with her own mental health.

Similarly, New Zealand cricket skipper Sophie Devine sat out of the second and third Twenty20 internationals against Australia and the three one-dayers that followed after suffering from fatigue herself.

Pulse CEO Fran Scholey says she "remains on extended leave."

"She is exhausted and just needs to reset," Scholey started. "It's been an incredible 18 months for her and so she just needs to reset herself."

"With any athlete obviously we're mindful of looking after their health and wellbeing so we need to make sure when she returns she's in a return to play programme," Scholey said.

"Our key thing around our kaupapa (policy) is that we ensure our athletes are mentally well in terms of their home life first and foremost so that when they're able to perform at work they're at the best of their abilities. So until we get any indication that that is all okay then she won't be returning to the environment."

Announcing her decision on Instagram, Ekenasio said: "Just because I am a successful athlete does not mean I am immune to mental health challenges. Just because I seemingly have everything going for me does not mean that every single day can be really hard.

"It’s not always what it seams on the outside, but it’s ALWAYS IMPORTANT to ask for help. I know when I’m red flagging but honestly it still takes so much courage for me to reach out - reach out anyway, I promise it’s always better to go early.

"I promise it’s always better to go early. I’ve been seeing a therapist for a while now to just keep me afloat and let me say JUST afloat - I’m prepared to work with her for as long as it takes as there is no quick fix here. It’s been a heavy and compounding couple of months in amongst all the good things.

"What I want from sharing this is the hope to further normalise talking about mental health and acceptance of no matter what you see it’s not always what you think you see."

Author: Jake Wilkin