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EFFECT Retires from Competitive Overwatch

Gillian Langland

In an emotional Facebook post earlier today, Dallas Fuel player Heyon “EFFECT” Hwang announced that he was retiring from competitive Overwatch.

Dallas Fuel DPS player Effect retires, citing mental health reasons. (Image courtesy of Overwatch League)

Dallas Fuel DPS player Effect retires, citing mental health reasons. (Image courtesy of Overwatch League)

The surprising news came during the Dallas Fuel’s only bye week for Stage Two.  As one of the Dallas Fuel’s DPS players, EFFECT has been instrumental in the Fuel’s performance since the Inaugural Season and participated in some League-defining plays for the team.

EFFECT has been one of the most transparent professional Overwatch players, being open and honest about his struggles – both professionally and emotionally. EFFECT’s Facebook post, originally written in Korean, details his struggles with mental health issues and cites this as his reason for retiring from professional play. It should be noted that EFFECT’s Facebook post contains potentially triggering material for community members who struggle with depression or mental health issues.

EFFECT’s decision to take time away from professional play is not the first time the player has emphasized his self-care and well-being. After the Stage Three of the Inaugural Season, EFFECT returned to South Korea, citing mental health issues as his reason for his break. In a tweet that has since been deleted, EFFECT mentioned the need for rest and that he needed to deal with his mental health as the reason for his temporary break from competitive play. The Dallas Fuel took heed from EFFECT’s decision to go home during Stage Four of the Inaugural Season and had sports psychologist Don Kalkstein work remotely with the Fuel players to help them overcome the mental exhaustion that playing competitively can cause.

There’s no question that professional players are at a high risk for burnout, especially players like EFFECT who are very transparent about their lives. After the Inaugural Season ended, EFFECT came out publicly as bisexual. He mentioned the effect this had on his mental health and the scrutiny he faced being bisexual in a country that opposed gay rights. It’s a lot of pressure for anyone to endure, and it was smart of EFFECT to make the right choice for himself.

Both the Dallas Fuel and community are sad to see EFFECT retire, but it might not be the last we’ll see of EFFECT. He mentioned that he wants to continue to create YouTube videos and stream online to support himself. And if you’re sad that you might not see EFFECT wear the iconic blue colors of the Dallas Fuel, you might get to see them again as Mike “hastr0” Rufail said that they would love to support EFFECT has a streamer

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, you are not alone. If you are in the United States, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you live in Canada, please reach out to the Crisis Services of Canada at 1-833-456-4566 or Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.