Mental Health in Athletes

 Welcome Back Saints Students & Staff. This article is a little heavier than most. TW: features mentions of death.

Photo Credit: Unsplash.: You can’t outrun everything. Sometimes you need to unleash it all. You aren’t alone.

Athletes are juggling a lot more than just sports, school, and their everyday life. They have so much going on and I don’t know if the coaches, staff, and even teammates or even their friends know the internal struggle they face. The pressure of being the best, all eyes are continually watching you, and the weight of that is hard enough. Being an athlete can be incredibly challenging when dealing with mental health.

Maryville has a plethora of sport organizations. Many of the students are on scholarships and that adds more pressure to your game, lifestyle, and overall, well-being. It is crucial that they have regular mental health checks from their coaches and professors.

Recently, a female soccer athlete from Stanford committed suicide. She was only twenty-two years old. It broke my heart to hear about his story because I played soccer at UMKC, and I know the passion and heart it takes to play at that level. She was an amazing soul, and it is so heartbreaking to not only her family but the community that surrounded her. I asked some athletes here at Maryville that play on the women’s basketball team what they thought about mental health concerns with athletes. Cici said “Mental health among student athlete’s is not taken seriously enough and needs to be more prioritized. There have been multiple suicides of student athletes over the years and beyond, sending your condolences does not help. There needs to be true meetings by Maryville that are setting up counselors that each program in the athletics get and can talk to you on a weekly basis, so they do not feel like they’re alone. “


Photo Credit: Unsplash: “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

I also interviewed another women’s basketball player named Taylor. She said “mental health in athletes is often forgotten about and overlooked. Mental health should be focused on a lot more and therapy should be mandatory, even if it’s just a check in. We need more therapy services available, and more awareness spread.

Overall, we need to give athletes more ways to release all the pressure and emotions they are constantly feeling. We can not assume that playing a sport is a good enough outlet. If you all watched the Olympics we all saw one of the greatest Olympians of all time, Simone Biles, take a break for her own mental health. It is refreshing to see someone so powerful, influential, and strong take time for herself to heal. We have to remember we don’t know their trauma or struggles so to keep everyone healthy as possible we need to do regular check ins and give more breaks. Tap into your gut instincts and your kind hearts.

Until next time!

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