England opening batsman Marcus Trescothick has flown home. The injury? Not a hamstring, not a broken hand, not a groin injury but stress. This is a man who has scored nearly 6000 runs in Test cricket at the very creditable average of 43.79. This is a man whose performances were critical to England's winning the Ashes in 2005. When called upon, he has also captained his team with distinction. Along with all this success he has the financial rewards that most of us will never attain.
This episode should remind us all that stress and depression are real diseases that have real consequences for those who suffer from them. The debilitating effects of a wounded psyche can often be more harmful than broken bones or pulled muscles. People can't just "snap out of it" - they need medication and the input of health professionals if they are to deal with their condition effectively.
We might think that only "losers" can suffer from this disease - yet here is an accomplished and respected sportsman whose entire playing future is now in doubt.
This is a letter I wrote which was published in last Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald. Last night I was watching the Fox Sports show "The Back Page" with Peter FitzSimons and Mike Gibson and others. They had a lengthy discussion about Trescothick and the effects of depression. They then showed the letter immediately before mine from the Herald and discussed it. Virtually everything they were talking about was pretty much lifted from my letter. Cool!