Psychologist: He’s in hell at the moment

2013-02-16 00:00

“SOBBING like that is [a sign of] absolute emotional shock. His whole world collapsed in the blink of an eye. It’s not about choosing sides. He needs emotional support so he can find his feet again.”

This was Pretoria sports psychologist Maretha Claasen’s warning after Oscar Pistorius’s breakdown in the dock yesterday. She said he must be closely watched, because a person in his position could be so overwhelmed they might consider suicide.

“He is in emotional hell, experiencing a mixture of shock, fear, anxiety and disbelief,” she said.

“He’s probably asking himself, ‘Who the hell am I and what have I done?’”

Claasen warned that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions about the personalities of elite athletes.

Research about aggression in sports had not shown conclusively that top athletes were more aggressive than other people, she added.

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