Mental Health and Athletes: What Coaches and Sports Can Do
Emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Domestic violence. Mental illness. Alcohol and drug abuse. Separation and divorce. Incarceration of a parent or other loved one.
Studies show nearly 60% of Wisconsinites say at least one of the above issues is prevalent in their life. And, 14% can say that four or more are true.
Add these experiences and traumas to all the uncertainties and pressures of the world today, and more than 50% of high school students report feeling anxious, tense, scared or like something bad was going to happen. 18% reported feeling like suicide was the only solution.
That’s where sports come in.
“Sports opens the doors for so many different things,” says Dr. Brandon Currie, CEO of Stryv 365. “You can learn about yourself and about working with others — from discipline to teamwork to commitment to dealing with adversity. I think that carries over into the real world, as well.”
Coaches play a big role in motivating their athletes. Understanding the stresses they are dealing with can help their mental health and increase trust between teammates — and ultimately improve their athletic performance.
“Sports often require some degree of aggression or escalation,” says Tim Grove, Senior Consultant at Wellpoint Care Network. “The real question is how quickly can you go from that escalated position back to something near baseline? Kids with a history of adversity have been in survival mode all the time. They struggle to get back to baseline.”
By learning more about the effects of adversity can present themselves, coaches can become a source of stability for their players, in-game and out.
The preceding responses were part of a “Resilience in Sports” panel, hosted by Wellpoint Care Network, Stryv 365, and the Milwaukee Bucks.