After helping his teammates on the San Francisco Shock win their second league championship this past October, Seon-chang “ANS” Lee has announced that he will officially be retiring. Citing ongoing struggles with both his mental and physical health, Lee broke the news via a video on the team’s Twitter page.
The impact that esports has on pro gamers’ bodies is something we’ve written about before. In fact, we’ve even written about pros retiring to take care of their well-being too when we covered Nevix’s decision to step away from Overwatch. Both Nevix and ANS played for the San Francisco Shock, though their tenures didn’t overlap. The fact that these young pros find themselves needing to step away from lucrative and successful careers is a sign that the well-being of players is something that can’t be overlooked.
In a video released via Twitter on Jan. 8, ANS apologized for leaving Overwatch to take care of his own mental and physical health. The messages from both the Shock and the fans have been supportive of the 20-year-old South Korean Hitscan DPS player. In the video, ANS also mentioned that he would share more information on his personal stream.
ANS’ retirement comes after an extremely successful season with the San Francisco Shock. As an article from Dot Esports notes, “ANS was a key part of the team’s second Overwatch League championship win in October… join[ing] the San Francisco Shock as a last-minute pickup before the 2020 season began.” All in all, ANS was only with the team for a relatively short amount of time. However, over the course of that time, he made quite an impact with fans appreciating “his incredible talent with hitscan heroes like Widowmaker and Ashe.”
Dot Esports’ coverage of ANS’ retirement also referenced follow-up posts from the Overwatch player, which provided more context for his decision to leave the game behind. In said posts, ANS said, “I was actually thinking about retirement in the middle of the season.” Following kind words of encouragement from the team’s head coach, Park Dae-hee (aka “CRUSTY”), ANS was able to persist along with the support from his teammates.
If nothing else, it’s encouraging that ANS and other players are able to be so open and forthcoming about their struggles with mental health. In so many ways, these young pro gamers are setting an example for their fans. By putting his health and well-being first, ANS is doing a great job of reminding gamers, both aspiring professionals and otherwise, that they have to take care of themselves.