When the head doesn’t play the game: Werder professional Niklas Schmidt talks openly about his everyday mental problems

Murcia – Suddenly football wasn’t so important anymore. In fact, he hadn’t even counted at all. And that was due to Niklas Schmidt. The SV Werder Bremen professional was on the sidelines after the first friendly of the year against Real Murcia (2-0) and had to talk about his goal and a possible new attack on the starting XI. Just the normal daily life of a footballer. But what he was to report next loomed much larger: Schmidt spoke very openly about the fact that he had been struggling with significant mental issues in his life for some time and was undergoing psychological treatment.

“It is very important that I address this issue openly, because I am not alone,” said Nicholas Schmidt, who claims to have quickly informed his teammates and coach Ole Werner of his complaints. There were no sidelong glances, but rather a lot of understanding and affection. The midfielder of SV Werder Bremen, who is so often at work on the training ground with a smiling face, finally has another side usually hidden from the public. “The last few months haven’t been as important for me on the football pitch as they have been for me privately,” the 24-year-old said. “That’s why the holidays were so important recently. Now I’m trying to sort things out on my own.

Werder Bremen’s Niklas Schmidt: ‘I didn’t really feel the joy of living’

The realization that something was wrong came slowly. “I once read an article on Benjamin Pavard”, explained Nicholas Schmidt and thus evoked the world champion and French professional of FC Bayern Munich, who last September in an interview granted to depressions reported during the Corona pandemic. “I found myself there a bit. I didn’t feel the joy of life so much. If then other people close to you are also afraid for you, then you have to get help and also accept the family advice – even if you don’t want to hear it right now.” Especially the girlfriend of the professionals of Werder Bremen noticed changes in his partner during this phase and gave him immediate feedback. This is exactly why he is visibly grateful to her. “If you hear from the person who has been around you all day that you are not feeling well, that you are withdrawing and that you need help, then this is what you need to do” , did he declare.

Because Nicholas Schmidt know that things can turn out differently. “It’s important that footballers don’t eat like Robert Enke did back then,” the player recalled. Werder Bremen to the former Hannover 96 international goalkeeper, who depressions suffered and committed suicide in November 2009. “You absolutely have to be open about it, because unfortunately it’s still a taboo subject,” Schmidt said. “Depression is still a big word. I still don’t know exactly what it’s going to be like for me in the end. For me, these are mental problems that I will settle with my psychologist. It is important for me and especially for my family that I do well in this regard.

Werder Bremen’s Niklas Schmidt on mental issues: ‘Everyone should deal with it openly’

And that’s why he works a lot at the moment. Not only on the ball, but also away from the difficult daily life of the Bundesliga. The search for causes is of secondary importance, but still plays a role. “It has to do with a lot. Whether it comes from the past, whether it has to do with football or current life, I don’t want to go into too much detail,” he said. Nicholas Schmidt of Werder Bremen. “There was no trigger, not that moment when everything fell apart. It developed over the years, probably from childhood. I’m working on that right now.”

And the midfielder Werder Bremen Shortly after, he repeats this one message, which is so infinitely important to him on the whole subject. “It’s about dealing with it openly and showing that something like this can happen to us footballers, who always play a special role in society. It’s very important and I would also like to say to everyone who has similar issues: whether athletic or non-athletic, everyone should face them openly. Nicholas Schmidt made in Murcia. Because he just needed that openness. “I just want to clear my head and regain my joy of living. It’s the most important thing because everyone should have it,” he stressed. “In terms of sport, I’m going to do my thing and try to focus on myself when I’m on. field. I don’t know what will happen then. Unfortunately, I can’t see the future. But he can be sure that he will not follow this path alone. (mbu)

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