Athletes and Mental Health


By looking at the face of any franchise, we are compelled to think of attributes such as playmaker, leader, powerful, influential. As avid sports fans, we tend to forget our heroes are made of the same stuff we are. Professional athletes are not held to the same standards as the average person but are instead put on a pedestal and made seemingly out of reach.

The fact of the matter is, athletes often rely on psychological and mental well being in order to perform well in their corresponding sport. Some of the world’s best athletes rely on and perform routines not because of their physical benefits but rather the psychological benefits behind the routines which proves how much of a role psychological factors play on their performance.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ center Kevin Love recently spoke on the subject of mental health which encouraged other NBA players like DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors Shooting Guard) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (Washington Wizards Shooting Guard) to contribute to the breakdown of the mental health stigma within the sports world. The “problem” is in the name itself. By labeling these “problems” it’s suggesting a flaw when in fact, it is something millions of Americans experience.

What is problematic, however, is the lack of routine mental check ups provided for the athletes not just in the NBA, but in professional sports. Yes, these players are around high pressure situations all the time and it is part of their career to handle them with efficiency.

But things are constantly changing and the influence these factors have change as well. With younger, incoming players from drafts around the world, some are asked to helm the teams and are given the keys as a Point Guard to the squad. Our Atlanta Hawks’ Dennis Schroder has been the permanent starting Point Guard ever since we started our rebuild process last year, at the age of 23. Not to mention more extreme examples such as Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns’ Point Guard) who is only 20 years old. This is an underlying problem that must be addressed by the executives in each office. Unfortunately, due to lack of visibility and exposure, mental health has become an afterthought, second to physical well being. Advocates like Love, DeRozan, and Oubre Jr. are just what the professional sports world need to get the wheels spinning in the right direction for all who may need it, in any sport.

Arturo Principe |@ArturoPrincipe1

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