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About Beyond the Outcome



Beyond the Outcome is a searchable collection of articles about current topics in athlete mental health. I hope this helps you as an athlete or coach in developing awareness of mental health and reducing the stigma associated with it. 

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How One World-Class Athlete Rebounded From Underperformance


.....And today, we have a whopper of a longitudinal case study that was just published in the Frontiers of Physiology journal,–one world-class male cross-country skier’s training and racing data over ten years! What makes this study extra titillating is that it included two seasons of a steep performance decline relative to expectations, followed by a return to world-class levels. What caused the decline? And the rebound? Those are the questions the study sought to answer, and it could have major implications for how we think about training and adaptation across a career of pushing it to the limits......

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Bethany`s Notes: If you love academic studies take a look at this longitudinal study done on a world cross country athlete....wow...lots of data and information about training, fuel, and stress. A must read for the week!

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NCAA Coaches Report Increased Focus on Mental Health, Detail Personal Challenges


.....About one-third of coaches reported they "constantly" or "most every day" experienced mental exhaustion, feelings of being overwhelmed by all that they had to do, and sleep difficulties. In their responses, coaches cited pandemic-related factors, roster management challenges that include an evolving transfer landscape and additional eligibility, concerns about their job and athletics department budgets, and dealing with personal situations such as financial stress and child care.....

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Bethany Notes: Finally, some good information about coaches and their mental health at the NCAA level. A good academic read if you are interested in this type of research. A lot of articles have talked about coaches leaving the profession, perhaps this gives some reasons as to why.

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From Swimming to Lawn Bowls, Athletes Struggle to Cope after Major Competitions


…..Professor Purcell says the pressure and energy that goes into being a successful athlete makes adjusting to reality difficult. 


"The investment of time and physical and mental energy that goes into the preparation for those major competitions, there is almost a spring release at the end of that," she says. 

"It is like `What now? I have devoted so much to this one event, what do I do now?` — especially where there has been success that can be tricky for athletes."…..

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Bethany`s Notes: The struggle post championship is real for most elite athletes. One might think they should be happy after an amazing performance at the highest level...but the dip down mentally is real post championship races.

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The Fierce Life and Sudden Death of America’s Strongest Woman


.....For many, the pain and discipline function as emotional therapy.
“We talk about being the misfits,” said Jackie Zagrans, a competitive strongwoman and friend of Ms. Lorch who works as a family therapist specializing in trauma. “We’re not the sleek, wealthy CrossFitters; we’re not the technique-savvy Olympic lifters. We’ve got tattoos head to toe. We’re a bunch of misfit toys. And the strongman community has always liked it that way.
“But what does that draw? That draws people who have troubles. That draws people who have experienced trauma. That draws people who have never felt like they fit in. They finally find this sport and they’re like, ‘Oh, this is what I’ve been looking for.’”....
.....Coaches, like teachers and psychotherapists, enjoy an unequal power relationship with the athletes in their care. They instill self-worth and motivation and grant approval. But they can also withhold these to serve their own ends. This imbalance “really makes any sort of romance between the two unacceptable,” said Lee H. Igel, a clinical professor in the N.Y.U. Tisch Institute for Global Sport and associate in medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.....
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Bethany`s Notes: It is essential to discuss and acknowledge power differential control in sports. This story has a sad ending and one that probably could have been avoided.

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Athletes Are Humans Too


.I mean, we are so quick to judge off of actions rather than take the initial thought of how these players are feeling. Losing constantly will always take a mental toll, but never have we asked ourselves how these players are feeling. Instead, we judge them by what they are saying or doing. It’s a hypocritical thing that unfortunately sports fans have done constantly, I mean you already see how the media tries to bombard players immediately after a game, it’s not just fans…..

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Bethany`s Notes: A good reminder of how our response as fans, media personal, and outside people need to be careful how they speak about athletes and coaches. Athletes are human and have feelings and emotions.

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Factors Associated with Anxiety Among Division III Student-Athletes During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study


.....There were significant differences between male and female GAD-7 responses X2= 30.119 (df=3, n=435), p=.000. There were no significant differences between non-gender specific sport-type athletes and anxiety. Female individual sport athletes were three times more likely to report mild-severe anxiety symptoms than female team sport athletes (PR=3.2, 95% CI, 1.66-6.16, p=0.000). In conclusion, female individual sport athletes were at greater risk for reporting anxiety symptoms compared to female team sport athletes, male individual sport athletes, and male team sport athletes. The application of sports is that associated colleges need to provide additional assistance in counseling, telehealth, and social support to collegiate student-athletes to help lessen the mental distress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic......   ...Full Story Here

Bethany`s Notes: Here is your academic read for the week.

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Pressure on the Court: Exploring Mental Health with Women’s Basketball


.....Morgan Kane, a senior majoring in kinesiology and health, is also a forward for the Cyclones. She has noticed that many of the challenges faced by student-athletes are universally experienced.
“No matter what sport you’re on, we all encounter very similar things, but in the moment, we all think it’s just happening to us,” Kane said. “There’s a huge push nowadays to really unite athletes [and show them], ‘You’re not alone.’”
Having a strong support system is an integral part of alleviating burnout because trying to shake it off without help can increase its effects.  
“If you’re getting burned out, that’s normal,” Kane said. “Let’s find some strategies to work with it instead of just having athletes isolate themselves and dig a deeper hole.”....

 

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Bethany`s Notes: Everyone goes through similar things but in the moment we always think we are the only one experiencing certain feelings...Many have come before us and many will come after us.

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A silent Struggle: The Mental Health Crisis Within College Athletics


.....She identified two factors that can improve the mental health situation in college athletics. Spectators must avoid glorifying the athletes and expect them to be perfect. “We can’t put them on a perfectionistic pedestal. They’re going to have problems and we have to recognize that,” she said. “That doesn’t take away from their athletic ability.”

Brown puts the responsibility of improving athletes’ mental health on athletic departments. “They have to be aware that these kids are struggling. It has to come from the top,” she said. “From the university to the athletic director to the coaches to everybody else who supports a student-athlete.”.....

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Bethany Notes: A good reminder that we need to keep expectations realistic for student athletes.

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Former NHL Goalie Speaks with MSU Student Athletes about Mental Health


..... Malarchuk’s decision to speak with athletes, students and community members on Thursday night about mental health not only stemmed from a place of wanting to normalize conversations and rid the stigma around it, but to also encourage those in the audience to seek help sooner than he did.

“That’s a message I strongly want to get across,” he said. “Do not go that far down that rabbit hole before asking for help. It’s OK to talk about it, to get help. Talk to a friend, talk to a counselor, talk to a therapist, talk to a coach, talk to your parents. Get the help you need to get well.”…..

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Bethany`s Notes: Great lessons from the past can help us put in new steps and recommendations for the future.

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A Longtime Advocate of Mental Health, Former NFL Star Brandon Marshall is Still Helping to Transform Lives


.....No one would argue that. Since revealing his diagnosis more than a decade ago, Marshall has increasingly put his vulnerability on display while advocating for others` well-being. His unscripted athlete-led talk show, "I AM ATHLETE," prioritizes raw perspectives, in some ways modeling the transparency of therapy sessions. And his House of Athlete initiative, which just launched the HOA+ holistic training program, goes a step further.
"HOA is the new therapy," Marshall says. "It`s the new therapist`s office. That`s what we`re doing here. ... As a professional athlete, when I walked into the Jets and Giants locker room, everything was integrated. My nutritionist was here. ... My strength and conditioning coach was right across the hall. I had a mental health practitioner that was in the building. We had doctors, we had clinicians. Everything was integrated."
Marshall`s goal, in creating HOA+ and offering live one-on-one coaching, isn`t to further burden people with a checklist. It`s to prioritize the right things -- like making space for focused efforts such as exercise and meditation -- in a distracted world......
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Bethany`s Notes: Brandon Marshall, one of the early professional athletes who talked openly about his mental health and bipolar diagnosis is still giving back.

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‘We’re No Longer Explaining the Need’: How the Team Sports Psychologist Serves Iowa Football


…..“I’m observing body behavior, body language after a mistake, communication, just general demeanor in terms of how they’re responding to the events of a game,” Tebbe Priebe said. “Gameday is where I’m gathering performance data.”

Athletes are subject to mental health screeners when they arrive on campus. However, the services are available to anyone — diagnosis or not…..

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Bethany Notes: A good reminder to pay attention to body language when working with student athletes. Sometimes just watching how an athlete responds to a subpar performance is critical feedback for a coach.

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How Sports-Related Concussions Affect Mental Health


.....As complicated as it is to treat the physical signs and symptoms of SRC, the treatment of the mental health issues secondary to SRC can be even more challenging. We tend to classify SRC signs and symptoms into categories with no consensus as to the definitive designation of those categories. These categories grossly would be cervical spine pain, cognitive/fatigue, mental health issues (anxiety/mood), headache/migraine, sleep disturbance and vestibular/oculomotor.
All these symptom categories are challenging to manage; however, the additional stressors put on our athletes secondary to the pandemic and its fallout have made management of mental health issues secondary to SRC even more challenging.....
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Bethany`s Notes: A great read on how challenging it is to treat SRC and make sure you are accounting for everything you possibly can while still planning for the future.

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The Importance of Mental Health for Student-Athletes


.....“I know that I don’t pay attention to it. I don’t know that they don’t,” said Calipari. “Sometimes I think they’re reading that stuff. You just can’t. It’s a different time and age. You know, it’s funny I was sitting with Jeff Sheppard. I said Jeff, what if you had social media back then?”

“I do think that as athletes are looking at their dreams and looking at their future, a lot of times they miss the moment, and that’s sad,” said former Kentucky basketball player Jeff Sheppard. “They don’t need to miss the moment.”

Jeff Sheppard was a member of two national championship teams at Kentucky in 1996 and 1998 and remembers what it was like to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders.

“The best thing about Kentucky basketball is the expectations,” said Sheppard. “The worst thing about Kentucky basketball is the expectations.”.....

 

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Bethany`s Notes: Jacob Toppin talks about expectations and his need to step away and find himself.

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How Social Media, Gambling and NIL Have Changed the Player, Fan Dynamic for IU Basketball


…..Expectations from fans have always been high. But with social media, those fans have more outlets to reach out to players, to praise and to criticize. And the relationship between player and fan is changing further with NIL -- name, image and likeness -- money that, effectively, makes college basketball players openly professional…..

…..Today, college athletes have taken on a "celebrity-like image," said Dr. Katie Greenan, assistant professor of communication at the University of Indianapolis. "They are put on a pedestal."

And when they mess up, the hits can come in full force.

"It has been found that (on social media) people are more apt to be mean or say mean things," said Dr. Greenan. "These fans and these athletes, it’s not just that they`re attacking, but they`re attacking each other personally, too, and this would not happen as frequently face to face."…..

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Bethany`s Notes: As a fan how do you respond? Would you say to a players face what you say behind closed doors?

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I Struggled with Mental Health as a Division I Athlete. Here’s How Colleges Should Help.


…..In reality, many work 35 hours a week while juggling education, extracurriculars and social lives. Additionally, other challenges have grown during COVID-19, with many student-athletes concerned about career planning as well as financial and food insecurity…..

…..No individual should think they need to tackle the various pressures of being a student-athlete on their own. We can ensure that caring communities and support systems are ready to help.

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Bethany`s Notes: An opinion article from a former student-athlete. We have come a long way with resources but still have a ways to go.

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Former NHL Goalie Speaks with MSU Student Athletes about Mental Health


..... Malarchuk’s decision to speak with athletes, students and community members on Thursday night about mental health not only stemmed from a place of wanting to normalize conversations and rid the stigma around it, but to also encourage those in the audience to seek help sooner than he did.

“That’s a message I strongly want to get across,” he said. “Do not go that far down that rabbit hole before asking for help. It’s OK to talk about it, to get help. Talk to a friend, talk to a counselor, talk to a therapist, talk to a coach, talk to your parents. Get the help you need to get well.”…..

   ...Full Story Here

Bethany`s Notes: Learning from the past and how we can apply those lessons to the future can be very helpful.

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Great Resources


Beyond The Outcome (my blog)

Athletes Connected News From University of Michigan

Support For Sport

Balance Position

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Welcome / About Bethany


Thanks for your interest in Beyond the Outcome.

Brewster just recently completed her Master`s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is interested in applying systemic therapies in team and individual settings. 
Players are often not only competing with other teams, they also compete with each other for positions, playing time, and, in some cases, scholarship money. These unique team circumstances can lead to conflict within and among team members, including the coaching staff. The need for more information on mental health is essential for both coaches and athletes.  This website provides a gathering of information and resources to help serve the sports community. 

Brewster is the current cross country/track and field coach for Edgewood College, located in Madison, Wisconsin. A highly decorated student-athlete while at the University of Wisconsin, Brewster has a total of 11 Big Ten championships to her credit. She was an All-American selection six times during her career. Post collegiately, she competed in the 1500m at the 2004 Summer Olympic Trails in Sacramento, CA. Brewster is a USATF Level 1 and 2 certified coach.
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