A May 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) study found that college athletes reported higher levels of fatigue, anxiety and depression.
The most frequently reported stressors were academic concerns, financial concerns, and future plans. These concerns were highest among more marginalized and vulnerable groups, including women, people of color and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Student-athletes are constantly faced with the juggling of athletic activities, schoolwork, and home life. All this in addition to managing mental and physical kinds of self-care as the semester progresses.
It takes a lot of work.
To be eligible for intercollegiate competition, student-athletes must be continuously and actively enrolled and participate in a minimum of 12 units of classes during the sports season.
“I always felt like I was running out of time,” said former SJCC softball player Malaya Street. Streets said he had a very busy and cramped schedule, with frequent early mornings and late nights. She said it left her with a feeling that she was not.
Women’s basketball player Meggie Awala said, “It depends on how many credits you have. Like any athlete, Awala follows a rigorous academic and sports schedule and earns a large number (over 20 credits) each semester. .
San Jose City College has 86 men and 37 women who participate in at least one sport.
healthy body, mind and soul
“My life feels like it’s on hold right now,” Street said.
The Streets have had to endure many challenges as they enter their final season in 2022. She had her devastating anterior cruciate ligament rupture, lost her grandparents within a month of her, and missed her planned job opportunities.
“I try to split my classes,” said track and field counselor Veronica Harris.
In general, what Harris does is go through all the classes required for general education or a degree, and then divide the classes so that you don’t take all the difficult classes at once, especially during the season. . .
“When they’re in season, I try to take only one hard course during the semester, but it also depends on what their major is.
Public perception of athletes is often dominated by larger-than-life figures like Michael Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant. Face adversity with courage without worrying too much.
“We are not robots. We don’t just play sports. People play sports and let us experience what we feel,” Brianna Scully tweeted. said in a post on July 27, 2022.
Athletes always want an injury-free career, but getting injured is often an unavoidable part of playing a sport. Minor injuries tend to be managed with little or no disruption to an athlete’s physical activity and participation in daily life, whereas larger injuries are associated with conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse. It can cause or reveal potential mental health problems.
“I felt like I was at rock bottom, and I’m still trying to get out of it,” Street said of her life after encountering such an intense struggle.
Street said he feels he hasn’t quite seen the light at the end of the tunnel, but he is grateful and grateful for the close bond he has with his coaches and teammates, and he remains hopeful for the future. expressed.
Two hours of practice after seven hours in school can be a major contributor to burnout, so athletes need an outlet to regain energy and prioritize their mental health and wellness. Is required.
Building support systems, setting achievable goals, and identifying coping mechanisms are all ways for athletes to improve their mental health. They say they can access advisors and experts for more in-depth help on a professional level.
“Mental health is my number one priority. When I’m not feeling well, I take time off for myself,” says Awala.
When he’s not on the court, he listens to a variety of music, writes in his diary, and seeks out friends with whom he can safely talk about his feelings.
does the coach care?
Becoming a student-athlete is no easy task, but a genuine relationship between an athlete and a coach can help make the workload more manageable.
Head softball coach Debbie Rooney is one example.
Hanze Rooney said, “Instead of seeing everything negative, try to see the positive.
Huntze-Rooney has been a softball coach at the SJCC for 32 years and is committed to creating safe, family-friendly spaces for his players.
Huntze-Rooney offers yoga days where practice usually takes place.
“Mental health is very evident,” said Hanze Rooney.