Six months after the end of her career, ex-athlete Louisa Grauvogel wants to further promote the destigmatization of mental illnesses in competitive sports. She still sees inhibitions.
The former German track and field athlete Louisa Grauvogel sees a need for optimization in dealing with mental illnesses in competitive sports. Especially in the federal squad and at Olympic bases, the sometimes lack of independence often represents too great a barrier to open communication, says the 26-year-old, who ended her career after mental problems.
“The problem is that the psychologists also talk to the coaches. Of course, you don’t tell the whole truth there,” said Grauvogel of the “German Press Agency” and added: “Usually these are sports psychologists, who are first concerned with the sporting performance goes.”
She herself was only able to go public after her career had ended. “You just don’t know what you’re going to do with it. Especially when you’re dependent on coaches. I never dared to talk about it during my playing days,” explained Grauvogel.
Diagnosis burnout: ex-athlete only came out after the end of her career
At the end of October 2022, Grauvogel surprisingly announced the end of her career as a competitive athlete. After a sudden hearing loss, the Saarland native was diagnosed with burnout and depression.
Grauvogel had his first mental problems back in 2018. At the home European Championships 2018 in Berlin, Grauvogel was about to qualify for the heptathlon for the Olympics in Tokyo. A car accident between two individual competitions ruined this dream.
It was not until the end of her career that Grauvogel made the reasons public – including in the ARD documentary “Real Life: Burnout of a competitive athlete”. “It was important for me to make all this public, to sensitize others to this topic – not just in terms of competitive sport,” said Grauvogel.
Parallel to competitive sports, she did her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in Cologne. In May she is going to Harvard to do her master’s degree there.