Robert Enke and the suicide: How his wife Theresa deals with it and what the goalkeeper leaves behind

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10th anniversary of death

Last resort suicide: Robert Enke in goalkeeping jersey of the German national team.

© afp

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Ten years ago Robert Enke knew no other way out than to take his own life. His widow Teresa fights to see that his death was no more senseless.

Teresa Enke sits in a dimly lit room. There are cheese rolls on the table in front of her. She does not touch her. Soon she will go to a hall in front of several hundred listeners to report on the illness of her deceased husband. Also about how she coped with his suicide. Above all, however, what people can learn by looking back at Robert Enke. The football goalkeeper who was so tired of life that he knew no other way out than to divorce on the railway line between Bremen and Hanover from life. With 32.

It is still the preliminary discussion, and the moderator is much more excited than she is herself. Teresa Enke, 43, has dedicated the public part of her life to education on depression. It is their mission and it is their way of dealing with fate. She says: "This talking about is of course also a piece of mourning work. It's the advantage I have over others with a similar fate: My husband is still present. "She wrote a compassionate letter to the locomotive driver. She is a delicate woman with a thin voice. But she is also a very strong woman.

Robert Enke leaves behind his wife and an adopted daughter

That was evident the day after. That's ten years ago. On the early evening of 10 November, a bleak Tuesday, Robert Enke places his car ten meters from the track near a railway gate near his home in Empede. Then he runs along the tracks for several hundred meters and lets himself be caught by the regional train coming from the direction of Bremen. He is dead immediately. Robert Enke leaves behind his wife Teresa and the eight months old adoptive daughter Leila, with whom the eight-time national player, together with five dogs, two cats and other animals, lived on a farm north of Neustadt am Rubenberge.

The common birth daughter Lara had died three years earlier at the age of two years from the consequences of a heart defect. Only in the spring had the couple adopted the little Leila at the age of two months. "We are very, very happy and thankful for this little man," said the parents back then. The episode of happy-feeling had not lasted long with Robert Enke.

Theresa Enke wants to enlighten the public

Also read the commentary on the topic: empathy is not measurable

The night after her husband's death, Teresa Enke decides that the next day she will inform the public why Robert Enke did not want to go on living. Also, to clear the world of speculation, the goalkeeper had suffered a mysterious viral disease. "I have made the decision: I speak! This is my husband, I do not want anyone else to speak. I want to say what it was like, I felt I owe it to Robbie. "

Two months earlier, before the World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan, the national goalkeeper had said goodbye to a "bacterial infection" from the training camp in Barsinghausen, according to the official announcement. Actually, the professional of Hannover 96 in his home stadium had to complete his ninth international match. For the summer 2010 in South Africa upcoming World Cup he was the first candidate. But it was close in a duel with Rene Adler. National coach Joachim Loew had not yet decided. Also Tim Wiese and Manuel Neuer were still on the goaltender list, albeit behind Enke and Adler.

Tireless in their fight against the common depression: Teresa Enke.

© dpa

Teresa Enke says on the podium: "The competition fueled by the media with Rene Adler – that was bad for Robbie. The national team was so important to him, that was his dream, but that broke him. "He felt like a" lonely cowboy in the box ".

Robert Enke does not want to reveal himself with his illness

While his teammates defeat Azerbaijan 4: 1, Robert Enke goes unnoticed by the public in Cologne for treatment with psychiatrist Valentin Markser. He does not want to reveal himself with his illness. Not even the psychologist of the German national team, Hans-Dieter Hermann, and the internist Tim Meyer. Hermann and Meyer, two men with great empathy.

Hermann and Meyer had considered a possible depression at the time, but rejected the suspicion again. The DFB team psychologist later reported a "one-hour conversation" in which he would have experienced Enke "out of his fatigue as a private and sporty happy person with clear ideas for the future".

Robert Enke and the fear of weakness show

"In the Bundesliga is still no room for doubt and fears." Andreas Bergmann, former coach of Robert Enke at Hannover 96

Robert Enke did not want to show weakness to Hermann. He knew that weakness in the cut-throat competition between the posts is not a good message for a regular place. The sports philosopher Gunter Gebauer proves him right: "The football bears no weakness. No professional sport can stand it. "Psychiatrist Markser confirms:" A player is constantly being tested for its utility, like a car. "

Football coaches, even those with the great social skills of a Joachim LOw, select their starter from the existing healthy staff. Injured or diseased players, kidney infections, ligament strains or influenza infections are not included. And no professionals who suffer from depression and run the risk of not being able to optimally retrieve their performance.

Theresa Enke describes how alone her husband felt

In the hall in front of the many listeners Teresa Enke will contradict: "Robbie thought he was alone. His biggest fear has always been that he loses his place in the net when he exposes his illness. But that would have been taken from him. He would not have had to fear for this place in the goal if he had been treated successfully and returned. It's like some other injury as well: if the treatment is successful, a footballer will be able to play just as well as he did before. "

Her husband had already proven that several years ago, after major depressive episodes in Barcelona and Istanbul. But he had lost hope to do it again. In his diary he wrote that he was a failure, that he could do nothing, that life was not worth living.

Robert Enke takes his own life while the DFB team meets at the hotel

In the gate he held balls that others let through.

Help for those affected: Due to the high number of imitators, we only report suicides in selected cases. If you feel concerned about yourself, you can turn to telephone counseling. You can get help by calling the hotline 0800/111 0 111 or 0800/111 0 222.

On that evening, when Robert Enke took his own life, the national team had just gathered in a hotel in Bonn to prepare for the scheduled for November 14, 2009 in Cologne international match against Chile. Robert Enke had not been nominated after the captain of Hannover 96 only ten days before had stood in the 1-0 victory in Cologne for the first time since his putative infection in the gate. In the circle of national players, the news was received with great concern. The game against Chile has been canceled.

Five days after his death, 35,000 people came to the funeral in the stadium of Hanover, which was broadcast live on television. The then DFB President Theo Zwanziger said in a moving speech: "Football is not everything. Do not just think about the bill. Also, think what is in people, doubt and weakness. "

Teresa Enke is working with the Robert Enke Foundation to discount the topic of depression

Also read the editorial on: Enke's legacy

Teresa Enke, who had moved to Cologne in the meantime and consistently secluded her private life, now lives in Hannover again. She regularly drives past the Robert-Enke-Strabe at the stadium. With the Robert-Enke-Foundation, which she initiated in collaboration with the German Football Association, the German Football League and Hannover 96, she helped to disabuse the topic of depression. She believes: "In football, I actually see us a bit further than in society. It is talked about in the teams, there are networks. Things are evolving. "But she also knows," Today social media players have to endure much more, that's part of the business, which is why we need to better prepare young people for it. "She does not give up. She is tireless.

On Sunday she will go to the grave of her husband and their daughter. She will not be alone. She says she'll try to get that day over quickly. And she also wants to remember the good times with Robert Enke, the husband and national goalkeeper.

Minute of silence for Robert Enke

The DFB and the Robert Enke Foundation have called for a joint action of German football under the hashtag #gedENKEminute. At the football matches on Sunday should not only be remembered Robert Enke, but especially for the widespread disease depression and the existing aid offers are sensitized. All clubs are called from the Bundesliga to the county league. Even clubs that already play their games on Friday or Saturday can participate.

Among other things, the Robert-Enke-Foundation has ensured that mentally ill performance athletes, coaches and referees have a fast, confidential access to a psychiatric or psychotherapeutic treatment. The consulting hotline Seelische Gesundheit im Sport (Telephone: 0241 – 80 36 777) offers a first contact as a contact point.

Ten years after the suicide of Robert Enke, the Association of Professional Footballers (VDV) sees major deficits in sports psychological care in German professional football. According to a survey of players from the first three leagues, few teams would offer professional support.

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Robert Enke's death, his former outfitter will launch a special edition of goalkeeper gloves that Enke had worn in his last games. On the thumb of the gloves is "Keeping Life Together", on the flap "Robert Enke". (JCM / dpa / sid)

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