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Why My Problem (Can Be) or (Is) Everyone’s Problem

By Broden Pickette

This Happened to Me

Growing up, I was very involved in sports, so much so that it became my biggest
personality trait. Playing sports for a lot of athletes makes you base your mood and emotions on
how you perform on the field. So, when you play a more difficult sport at a higher level of
competition, you fail more than you succeed. This creates a routine of if you succeed you are
happy and enjoying your day, and if you fail then the rest of your day your mood has drastically
changed. For non-athletes, I know it’s hard to understand why athletes behave this way, but for
most athletes, this is all they have ever known. You either succeed or fail.

For some, failure occurs a lot more than success, and since they depend on how they are feeling with how they play, most
of the time they are not happy with themselves. Therefore, more and more athletes in this day
and age are suffering from mental health issues. The stigma that all athletes are living great lives
because they are playing a child’s game past childhood can be correct in some cases, but in others,
it is completely wrong. Athletes that continue to play their sport suffer from mental health issues
more and more because they rely on how well they play their sport. I watched my fellow athletes grow up and go from happy, joyful people to barely seeing them, and when I do, they are sad and do not want to do anything because of how bad they played in the game. It is a frequent occurrence these days.

My Story is Not Unique, Here is the Problem

Mental health is becoming more and more of a problem for younger athletes. The game is
not just a game anymore for some. It’s what is going to be their lives. Maybe that’s how they get
into college, so that puts a lot of pressure on kids who are just trying to play a
children’s game. With most athletes’ success coming from college athletes and professional
athletes, it makes it so that the outside people looking in think the athletes are living the dream
life.

The problem is that athletes know everything is counting on them. If they lose, everyone blames
the athletes. The other problem is that people think that athletes can just get over their mental
problems. If mental issues were taken as seriously as physical issues, then the world would be
doing a lot more for athletes that suffer from mental health. (2) Because mental health issues are
not as important to some people as physical issues, there is not much being done to help
athletes besides giving them ice to help with the soreness. With more and more athletes coming
out that they are suffering from mental health issues, it shows that the sport they play is not just a
game, it is a lifestyle. It is everything to them, and when they fail, it harms their self-
image thinking that they are failing everyone that is a fan, family, and teammate.
Athletes should not have to deal with that when they are just trying to play a sport as an adult
that everyone played as a child.

Here is a Non-Profit Working to Solve the Problem

The mentalhealthfoundation.org is a non-profit that is helping athletes with mental health
issues to look for better solutions than just shutting out their feelings and hiding them from everyone.
Even though these athletes are working hard, they also are trying to focus on their mental health
and spirituality. (1) This foundation, for the most part, helps anyone
suffering from mental health issues, but recently, they are focusing on athletes. This helpful organization shows that people really care for our athletes, not just because they play for their favorite sports team but because they struggle
mentally just like many people do in this generation. As an athlete, to know people
care about more than just your playing ability when you are struggling means more than people really
know.

Here is what you (the reader) can do to help right now

If you see a friend struggling, ask if everything is okay. For some, just knowing that people really
care and asking if they are alright means so much more than they know. Knowing people care for
me means that I have more than just my sport.

References

Contributor, N. Z. -. (2021, September 2). Athletes And Mental Health. Mental Health
Foundation. https://mentalhealthfoundation.org/athletes-and-mental-health/

Sacco, M. (2021, August 10). Athletes and Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma. Cleveland
Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/mental-health-in-athletes/
https://www.athletesforhope.org/2019/05/mental-health-and-athletes/

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