Mental Health Challenges Faced By Student-Athletes

Mental Health Challenges Faced By Student-Athletes

 Mental Health Challenges Faced By Student-Athletes

Being a student-athlete means a student has to take on two different personas in the academic setting- an academic and a sporty student. For a teenager or a young adult, being a student is hard enough without the added pressure of taking on representing the school in a particular sport.

While some students can handle both sides just fine, some students can find this very challenging and it could therefore translate to mental health problems especially when they start lagging behind in one.

Often, an important tournament and an important class work may clash and these students would be forced to choose. They could either choose to do their school work or save face for their school. If they eventually resit the class work, there's a very high chance they would flunk the said test. They could start seeing themselves as dumb and unintelligent when the problem they had all along was improper time management.

This overlap can also affect the child's mental health as they have little to no personal time for themselves. They're either training for some tournament or reading up on what they missed in class.

There is also the probability of injury. If a professional athlete gets injured, they would get time off for recovery and proper rehabilitation. This is not the case for student athletes as they are expected to go back to class fully while recovering from their injury.

All these pressures could lead to student-athletes getting pressured by the desire to excel spectacularly in both realms of their life. Sport and studies. This pressure could put an overwhelming amount of anxiety on a teenager or young adult who is determined to do well in both so as not to disappoint his coach, his or herself, and his parents who are most likely putting him through school.

Balancing important school work and tournaments for a teenager is overwhelming enough without the ardent support of the school and parents. The school should provide a flexible schedule for student-athletes so they can easily merge both sides together.

The school should also readily provide proper guidance and counseling for the said student so they can be taught how best to manage their time and get the most out of it without burning out. They should also provide tutors for student-athletes who cannot keep up with the school work in time for the general examinations.

If the students are forced to choose an important test or a tournament, the school should make sure the students don't suffer for their decision. For example, a coach shouldn't threaten to bench a player for missing a training or meeting because he or she was in class. Likewise, teachers shouldn't threaten to fail a student-athlete simply because he or she missed a test. 

All these challenges being faced by student-athletes can be solved by simply putting some effective measures in place: counseling and a lot of empathy. They should also be duly recognized for their efforts.

To support student-athletes effectively, educational institutions and athletic programs must adopt a holistic approach, providing the necessary resources, understanding, and empathy to enable these individuals to thrive both academically and athletically. 

We should also not forget that they are mostly teenagers and are therefore prone to mistakes.

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