For many student athletes, their sport is causing them more stress and anxiety than schooling.
Many collegiate athletes struggle with their mental health along with their sport. Many of these students are so bust they struggle to have time for themselves. And when these students do have time to unwind, they feel guilty. “You cant feel guilty about relaxing or else it defeats the purpose of unwinding. You need to be able to convince yourself that its okay to do nothing to be better in different parts of your life,” said Morningside College counselor Bobbi Meister.
According to MHA many of these collegiate athletes have “access to top athletic trainers, and other physical modes of healing, but lack support for the illnesses and struggles we face internally.”
Along with limited access to mental health professionals there is also a very stigmatizing culture in athletics that keep athletes from seeking help to deal with their mental health issues reports the NCAA. There are also countless stressors that can impact a student athlete’s mental health like “the expectations of their sport, and the everyday stress of dealing with relationships, academic demands, and adjusting to life away from home,” reports the NCAA.
Although these athletes are always under extreme time crunches many of them rely on their sport to help them battle with their internal issues. “Beth Ruton a Morningside swimmer said, “Its honestly a release but it can definitely be overwhelming and it takes a certain amount of mental toughness.”
Competing at such high levels is extremely unnerving. “During liberals, I had a panic attack in the bathroom,” said Morningside swimmer Hayley Folsom. According to Meister many athletes do have a difficult time with competing, especially when their best is not good enough.
Competing at a college level is nothing like it was in college, it is so much higher stakes. “Even meets that aren’t very high stakes I want to do good because im afraid of failure, I get really worked up about it and it and it almost makes it worse,” said Ruton.