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Johan Franzén: "My world can fall apart"

Foto: DAVE REGINEK
Foto: DAVE REGINEK

DETROIT. Several concussions forced Swedish NHL star Johan Franzén to retire.

Today, the 38 year old is battling depression, severe anxiety and panic attacks.

– It’s embarrassing. I can speak to one person and the next day I’ve forgotten his or her name, a tearful Franzén says in a long interview with SportExpressen reporter Gunnar Nordström.

Almost four years has gone by since the NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers.

In that game, the Red Wings forward Johan Franzén got a concussion - it was far from his first, but this one was bad.

He tried to play two more games in the fall of 2015 but his long and successful career as a hockey player was over.

Since then, Johan Franzén has been through a nightmare.

Diagnosed with PTSD

After many visits to different doctors he has been diagnosed with PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder, and this spring he checked in to a Brain Health Institute.

Now, for the first time in a year and a half, Johan Franzén is ready to tell his story.

And it is a story full of tears.

– Sometimes my whole world falls apart and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, he tells SportExpressen reporter Gunnar Nordström.

– Most of the time I think I am moving in the right direction, but when I have down periods there is nothing positive. I almost give up then, and it is even worse because you think you have been better for a while.

– All I can do then is to sleep and lay in my bed. I take antidepressants and try to feel better again. But it quickly gets dark. Very dark.

Move back to Sweden

Johan Franzén says that he and his family, his loving wife Cissi and their two sons, want to leave Detroit and start over back home in his native Sweden.

– I still have many of my best memories from here (Detroit) but the last few years I have just wanted to leave. I don't want to be inside these walls. There has been so much anxiety, panic and depression.

- I use to go to the mountains. As soon as I see a mountain I feel better. Just to be outside in the nature.

His wife, Cissi Franzén, has been a huge support during the last years.

– It has been tough, like a roller coaster, she says.

Johan Franzén and his wife CissiFoto: DAVE REGINEK
Cissi Franzén, wife of Johan FranzénFoto: DAVE REGINEK

"Amazingly strong"

Johan Franzén:

– I can’t understand that my wife is still with me. She’s been amazingly strong.

Before the interview is over, Johan Franzén is asked if there is anything he doesn't want us to publish.

– No, you can run it all. I want people to know. I will receive many text messages from friends back in Sweden after this interview but I can take that.

 

Read the whole interview in Swedish here.