Cech Robben

'The Secret Balance of Champions' book launch

29 January 2021
FIFPRO will host an online event to launch The Secret Balance of Champions – Health Challenges in Elite Sport, a new book that includes interviews with 32 athletes including footballers Petr Cech, Lydia Williams and Arjen Robben,

Several current and former athletes including Marco van Basten will take part in the livestream launch on Thursday February 4, from 3-5pm CET.

Link to the livestream: https://livestream.com/accounts/78314/events/9484284/player

In the book the 32 athletes including Chris Froome (cycling) Kiki Bertens (tennis) and Mo Farah (athletics) talk about coping with injuries, mental health, motivation, fitness and life after sport.  From February 4, video segments of the interviews will be available on SecretBalanceofChampions.com.

The book also features medical information from experts on a range of topics such as detraining, concussion and career transition. It is co-edited by FIFPRO Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, orthopedic surgeon Professor Gino Kerkhoffs and former short track speed skater Margriet de Schutter, who runs an online platform for athletes.

Lydia Williams
Lydia Williams, playing for Seattle Reign, in 2019. Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via ANP.

In September 2019, De Schutter began visiting athletes to prepare the book before switching to video calls during the covid-19 pandemic.

De Schutter said: “At first I found it really challenging to speak to the athletes by video call and I was convinced that you need ‘real contact’ to get closer, but in fact it turned out to be the opposite. With video calls you sort of get invited into someone’s home. This made me feel part of the family for a little while.”

Dr. Gouttebarge said: “The pandemic is impacting the mental health of elite athletes, and putting their bodies under extra stress in many cases. I hope this book provides some inspirational tips and useful medical guidance.”

Prof. Kerkhoffs said: “It was a pleasure to collaborate with some of the foremost international sports medicine experts. The result is a nice combination of medical science and personal athlete experience.”