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During the 2021 summer Olympics, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles made a decision to withdraw from competing in the summer games. Biles stated that she was not mentally prepared to compete at her peak level of performance. Biles stated that her mind was not in sync with her body and that she needed to have a healthy mind to perform at a high level.
Biles, 24, is a four-time Olympic gold medalist. She testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in September during a hearing on sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Like many athletes, Biles started her career in her youth years.
In January of 2021, 17-miles outside of Chicago, a top high school student-athlete died in an apparent suicide just months before graduation. It is reported that that teen struggled with depression and his depression worsened significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. The student-athlete was the captain of the football team, had received several offers to play football, and was graduating with honors.
- Embark Behavioral Health has identified six ways to support student-athletes with addressing mental health and balancing self-care.
- Spend time outside of training to be or get in attunement with the teen of a young adult.
- Talk openly about issues and encourage them to educate themselves.
- Be conscious of language and the treatment of others.
- Treat their mental wellbeing as equal to their physical wellbeing.
- Make it a priority for yourself and lead by example.
- Focus on the positives and empowerment that can come from mental wellness.
Balancing sport, academics and mental health is a struggle for many high school athletes. Elite high school athletes have the task of caring for family members, friends, training, and various other tasks that many adults can not manage, and they have to do it all while maintaining their mental health and caring for themselves. It takes a village to raise a child, and a stronger village to raise a student-athlete. We all can do our part by being a support system to all students.
Contributed by Patrick Daniels
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jason St Peter’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Top Image by Vogue Taiwan Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License