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A Life Too Short by Ronald Reng

Release date: 28th September, 2011
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

List Price: £16.99
Our Price: £8.99
You Save: £8 (47%)
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Most young boys who have ever played the game have also, often for just the briefest of moments, considered what it would be like to live the professional football dream.

It's an unattainable aspiration for all but the very best, although this fact rarely dampens youthful ambition until the stark realisation that it's never going to happen finally hits home.

German international goalkeeper Robert Enke was fortunate enough to make it to the very top, but beset by depression, in November 2009 he committed suicide at the age of just 32.

Enke's young daughter had died from a heart defect three years earlier, but he appeared to have recovered from this tragedy and, after breaking into the German national team, seemed assured of a place in the country's 2010 World Cup squad.

To outsiders, it appeared implausible that a man apparently with the world at his feet could possibly suffer from depression, but Ronald Reng, Enke's friend of several years standing, reveals that the 'keeper had suffered for a number of years. He points out that more people die from depression-related suicides each day than from road accidents, a revelation which suggests that the depression which affected both England footballer Stan Collymore and England cricketer Marcus Trescothick is not as isolated as we may think.

It transpires that Robert Enke wanted to write a book about depression when he retired from football. Accordingly, he kept a diary, which he shared with Reng, though the author admits he has omitted some of the more traumatic entries.

The overwhelming majority of top-flight footballers grow accustomed to handling big-match pressure, but clearly, despite the enormous financial rewards which are now an integral part of the game, some are haunted by the terror of depression. This story won't stop young boys dreaming, but it may just help that handful of established stars who experience depression's terrifying, debilitating, affects.


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