What you need to know:
- The story of Kenya’s pioneer American football star Daniel Adongo has been trending , and for all the wrong reasons.
- It will require both mental and physical fitness for elite performers to get back on the grind and make up for lost time.
Success in sports has catapulted many athletes from obscurity to fame. Some have been unable to manage their meteoric rise from rags to riches, only to plummet to rags again.
The story of Kenya’s pioneer American football star Daniel Adongo has been trending , and for all the wrong reasons. It is a sad tale of a young man’s steady rise to the zenith of sport and dramatic fall, under the pressure of big money and attention, to the nadir.
Adongo’s star was shining bright when he signed for professional rugby teams in New Zealand in 2013, before he changed codes and joined the Indiana Colts franchise in the US National Football League.
The lucrative deal saw him, aged 23 at the time, earn Sh35.3 million in his first season.
But that was about it, as the youngster lost focus, fast sliding into depression as highlighted in the disturbing images circulating on social media.
Handling pressure in sports isn’t a walk in the park and many elite athletes have succumbed to increasing demands for performance, some seeking refuge in the nether world.
Adongo’s is not the first Kenyan case, with the list growing by the day, and raising a case for our sports leaders to include psychosocial support in nurturing sporting talent.
The situation at the moment is more fragile given the fact that many sports people have lost virtually a year’s income with the coronavirus pandemic having stopped play globally for most of the year.
It will require both mental and physical fitness for elite performers to get back on the grind and make up for lost time.
The desire to fill in the financial gaps will be so huge that some athlete could be tempted to seek solace in banned performance-enhancing substances as their bodies take a beating from hyperactivity.
They need extra support and attention.