PARIS (AP) — The global union for footballers is appealing for greater attention to be paid to their mental health after one-third of retired players in a new study reported symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Nearly one in five retired professionals in FIFPro's research also reported symptoms of distress. More than one-quarter complained of disturbed sleep.

It also found that suffering a severe injury "might lead to mental health problems in the long term."

FIFPro medical chief Vincent Gouttebarge called for "all stakeholders in football to put supportive measures in place so that those suffering from mental health problems know they are not alone."

The union said 219 retired players from 11 countries, all men with an average age of 35, participated in the research that expands on a 2013 pilot study.