Enke’s father reveals brooding fears behind the footballer

The father of the late footballer Robert Enke revealed in an interview published Saturday how he tried to break through the emotional walls his son put up to hide his depression just days before the German national team goalkeeper killed himself.

Enke's father reveals brooding fears behind the footballer
Photo: DPA

A week-and-a-half before Robert Enke stepped in front of a train on Tuesday, his father Dirk Enke, a qualified psychotherapist, went to Hannover to confront his 32-year-old son about his illness.

“For me it’s about understanding why there was such a wall, such closedness,” Dirk Enke told news magazine Der Spiegel. “Robert had very carefully made others believe everything was fine.

“I frequently offered to him: ‘Come on, let’s talk as father and son.’ I didn’t want to talk to him as a professional. Maybe he thought: ‘The old guy knows his stuff and is getting a sense of the fear I have.’ Robert had a feeling: ‘There’s something not right with my life.’”

For several weeks, Dirk Enke had urged his son to be treated as a hospital in-patient, he said.

“He was always so close to taking the step of having himself admitted (to hospital) and then he always said: ‘If I’m treated in a psychiatric clinic, that’s it for my football. And that’s the one thing I can do, and I want to do and love doing.”

Fear had triggered his son’s depression, Dirk Enke said.

“I’m of the opinion that the illness doesn’t originate inside, rather it arises out of the life circumstances,” he said.

This fear had already developed while Robert was young, his father said, not just in 2003, when Spanish side FC Barcelona, then Turkish team Fenerbahçe, dropped him from their squads, leaving him temporarily jobless.

As an early talent, he was placed in higher age groups, causing him to put pressure on himself.

“That was always causing crises, because he was scared he couldn’t keep up with the older players,” Dirk Enke said. “He put nothing past himself. He was trapped by his own expectations. At critical moments, Robert was scared that a ball would shoot into his goal. He had attacks, didn’t want to train, couldn’t imagine standing in goal.

“He was so full of doubt, he once asked me: ‘Dad, would you think I was bad if I dropped out of football?’ I said: ‘For God’s sake, it’s not the most important thing.’”

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Monkeypox in Germany: Two teens ‘among new infections’

Two teenage boys between the ages of 15-17 have reportedly been infected by monkeypox, as the number of cases in Germany continues to grow.

Monkeypox in Germany: Two teens 'among new infections'

German news site Spiegel Online first reported the new cases – which are an anomaly for a virus as it has mostly affected gay men – following an inquiry to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 

They are among a total of 2,677 people who are confirmed to have contracted the virus in Germany to date. There have not been any fatalities.

Out of these, only five cases were women, according to the RKI. The public health institute said that it does not release information on individual cases.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Germany wants to contain the monkeypox

The disease – which is not usually fatal – often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of a contaminated person, as well as through shared items such as bedding and towels.

Many of the cases known so far concern homosexual and bisexual men. However, affected people and experts have repeatedly warned against stigmatising gay communities.

How fatal is the disease?

The first monkeypox cases were reported in Germany on May 20th, as the disease continued to spread in West Europe.

At the weekend, the first two deaths outside of West Africa were reported in Spain.

READ ALSO: WHO warns ‘high’ risk of monkeypox in Europe as it declares health emergency

The RKI has urged people returning from West Africa and in particular gay men, to see their doctors quickly if they notice any chances on their skin.

According to the latest estimates, there are 23,000 monkeypox cases worldwide, and Europe is particularly affected with 14,000 cases.

There have been 2,677 monkeypox cases in Germany as of August 2, 2022. Photo: CDC handout

About eight percent of patients in Europe have been hospitalised so far, reported the World Health Association on Monday, mostly due to severe pain or additional infections.

In general, the mortality of the variant currently circulating in Europe is estimated to be low.

READ ALSO: More cases of monkeypox ‘expected’ in Germany

Will a vaccine make a difference?

Since July, a vaccine has been authorised in 27 EU member states and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. 

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends vaccination against monkeypox in Germany for certain risk groups and people who have had close contact with infected people.

So far, the German government has ordered 240,000 vaccine doses, of which 40,000 had been delivered by Friday. 

Around 200,000 doses are set to follow by the end of September. 

The German Aids Federation (DAH) on Friday called for one million vaccine doses, stressing that the current supplies will fall short of meeting need.

“The goal must be to reduce the number of infections as quickly as possible and to get the epidemic permanently under control,” explained Ulf Kristal of the DAH board in Berlin on Friday.

But this is only possible, he said, if as many people at risk of infection as possible are vaccinated.

“We don’t assume the epidemic will be over when the doses available so far have been vaccinated,” Axel Jeremias Schmidt, Epidemiologist and DAH Consultant for Medicine and Health Policy, wrote in a press release.

As long as there are monkeypox infections, he said, people who are at risk must be offered vaccination.