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.
Bethany`s Notes: Three sessions left! Sign up now to learn more about becoming your best as an athlete. Sport is an art and a science. Many of us tackle the science of sport but are we also tackling the art of sport....knowing ourselves and our athletes?
This research sought to establish the impact of the change-event of COVID-19 on college athletes and members of other campus groups (eg, marching band, eSports, Reserve Officers Training Corps). The specific purpose was to assess the perceived impact and impact on mental health (eg, depression, anxiety, and stress)......
.....Authors urge campus community and those in contact with college athletes and related groups to be diligent in monitoring the holistic wellness of these members. We presently note that female members of these teams are reporting higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, than males. Mainly, we contend that it is important to consider that COVID-19 is a significant change-event, and other change-events are known to have significant impact. We should consider that COVID-19 may be acutely and longitudinally impactful to the American college student.........more
Bethany`s Notes: A little academic read for those who like the scientific methods.
.....Dr. Tony Kemmochi, a sport psychologist with Intermountain Healthcare, says some of these issues can begin in youth athletes when children play sports. ...more
Bethany`s Notes: A great ready for parents in youth sports. If we want kids to enjoy sports lifelong we need to be aware how our words and actions as parents and coaches may contribute to their enjoyment or dislike of the sport.
....An IOC Mental Health in Elite Athletes Toolkit has been developed to assist Olympic Movement stakeholders, including International Federations (IFs), NOCs, National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), athletes’ entourage members, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders such as National Federations, clubs and teams, in developing and implementing initiatives related to the protection and promotion of mental health and well-being among elite athletes.
The Toolkit provides an overview of mental health symptoms and disorders most commonly seen in elite athletes, and the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholder groups in creating psychologically safe athletic environments, as well as additional IOC resources, information, and educational programmes........more
Bethany`s Notes: Check out the IOC`s 100 page document on elite athlete mental health. It`s a good read for anyone interested in how to be better at recognizing and directing individuals to possible resources.
......In February, Singh’s team published a paper that assessed the role of sleep among players in the NBA, which was followed up by a commentary in April on sleep in professional sports in general, and another in June, about sleep in the NBA bubble. The consequence of poor quality sleep and insufficient (less than 7 hours’) sleep is clear: it negatively affects athletes’ mental and physical health, increases risk of injury, and decreases performance. The February paper cites Sacramento Kings assistant coach Jason March, in an interview where he shared: “You ask anybody in the room, the thing I talk about is sleep…I think in a couple of years [sleep deprivation] will be an issue that’s talked about, like the NFL with concussions.”.... ...more
Bethany`s Notes: Rest and sleep....similar but different. Both are essential to the athlete life.
.....“Visualization is one of the most powerful techniques for achieving optimal performance because it directly impacts our neurology that is essential for rapid, fluid execution of motor skills, managing emotions, and dealing with stress,” explains Eric Bean, PhD, CMPC, and executive board member of Association for Applied Sports Psychology......
.....For fitness goals, Dr. Bean recommends using what’s called an external perspective. “External perspective can be from the third-person perspective, where an individual imagines watching another person perform; or it can be from the second-person perspective where a person imagines watching their own performance as though reviewing a video of the performance. Visualization from the external perspective is particularly beneficial in performance where physical form and alignment is crucial—such as diving, gymnastics, skating, and dance,” says Dr. Bean.........more
Bethany`s Notes: Use visualization as a training tool for your performance in sport and in life.
.....“I have one athlete who’s a surgeon, and he has a very high stress job,” she said. “When he reports back to me that he didn’t sleep well last night or had a really stressful case, I will cut down his training because I think that helps with the overall mental wellness picture. There’s a stress factor that’s playing a part in his overall job, and that’s going to impact how he feels on the bike. If I give him a cycling session that’s really hard and demanding, I might put him over the edge. Having that physical stress, that mental stress, that adds up.” ...more
Bethany`s Notes: Have you ever noticed an athlete who can get through the workout mentally because they are strong....that doesn`t always mean their mental health is strong. Mental wellness and mental strength are different and need to be treated differently.
.....While Fuchs’ athletic success has escalated, so have her OCD symptoms. She said the past three years have been the most mentally difficult time in her life. While she isn’t sure why her OCD has worsened, she said the demands associated with elite boxing may be contributing factors.....
.....“It might be how my life has been the past years. I’m not really in a stable home; I’m always traveling from place to place,” she said. “It could be the pressure of always staying at the top level. It’s a different pressure than I’ve ever had in my life.”
In 2019, Fuchs did in-patient treatment for her OCD and has continued to see the therapist she met there. She said exposure therapy, which forces her to cope with situations that trigger her anxiety, has been effective for her in the past, but her access to consistent therapy has been limited........more
Bethany`s Notes: Follow Fuchs`s lifestyle on the PBS documentary series Mysteries of Mental Illness. Glad she was open and honest about her struggles and was willing to share the day to day rituals.
.....But there are many ways athletes can ensure they respond positively under pressure. Positive stress responses can be promoted by encouraging feelings of confidence and control through the language we and others (such as coaches or parents) use. Psychologists can also help athletes change how they see their physiological responses – such as helping them see a higher heart rate as excitement, rather than nerves.
Psychological skills – such as visualisation – can also help decrease our physiological responses to threat. This may involve creating a mental picture of a time when the athlete performed well, or picturing themselves doing well in the future. This can help create feelings of confidence and control over the stressful event.........more
Bethany`s Notes: How an athlete responds to the stress of performing, whether in practice or during competition can impact both their physical and emotional well-being.
.....Dawes opened this facility in the aftermath of the abuse revelations and subsequent coverups of convicted sex offender Larry Nassar, a man Dawes says was her doctor for nearly a decade as a young athlete. She says the culture at the time provided coverage for Nassar.
“There were a lot of adults present watching these young kids get verbally, physically, mentally, psychologically abused, and they turned a blind eye because they felt as if that is the way that you build champions. No, that is the way you break a human being,” Dawes reflected..........“You`re sitting there in the waiting room and you`re watching your child cry. They`re crying many times walking in the gym; they`re stoic, they`re not smiling. They`re not enjoying their childhood, they leave crying, they leave in fear, and then you bring them back in fear. That`s a problem. It`s not worth it. It`s not worth the long-term effects that it`s going to leave on your young daughter or your young son. Take them out, find a healthier gym, find a healthier environment," Dawes advised..... ...more
Bethany`s Notes: It is a joy to see athletes give back and try to find ways to break a cycle of what it takes to become a champion. It`s certainly time for a culture change both for coaches and athletes.
.....“We began developing The Center for the Female Athlete about two years ago. We recognized that female athletes had higher rates of nutritional and mental health concerns than their male counterparts or non-athletes, which were having a negative impact on their sports performance and recovery,” said Lora Scott, MD, program director for sports medicine at Dayton Children’s. “We developed this program in response, so we could help provide holistic, wraparound care for these athletes.”......
.....Girls who enter The Center for the Female Athlete participate in an integrated care model that assesses them holistically, looking at their physical, nutritional and emotional heath, according to a release. The program focuses on exercise habits, hormonal balance, nutrition and counseling support to enable optimal health and teach them healthy habits........more
Bethany`s Notes: This is a great idea to create a more holistic view of the female athlete at the hospital level. Some hospitals focus only on the medical outcome but the Dayton hospital is taking a more long-term approach. I`m grateful for their action and ability to create this approach.
....."Every athlete competing in the Olympic games should be at their mental and physical peak," Cambage said in her statement. "It`s no secret that in the past I`ve struggled with my mental health and recently I`ve been really worried about heading into a `bubble` Olympics. No family. No friends. No fans. No support system outside of my team. It`s honestly terrifying for me."..... ...more
Bethany`s Notes: One of the biggest challenges in this Olympics is the lack of spectators and fans (especially family and friends). Most athletes would love their family there to support them and to make the experience more comfortable. The prep year to the Games has been challenging already and the lack of spectators (especially family and friends) continues to take it`s toll on athlete mental health.
.....The problem is the desire for the public to hold up performing artists and athletes as paragons of perfection and then punish them when they are anything less. They see mental health issues as a character issue — to suffer is to be weak. This despite the statistics: one in four adults and one in five teens experiences a diagnosable mental disorder. Rather, the public should admire public figures’ perseverance and character strength for all they’ve accomplished despite their challenges — and learn coping skills from them. Actually, it’s a reflection of our own character whether we choose to be supportive or derisive, because that reflects either our capacity for compassion — or the depth of our own personal fears.... ...more
Bethany`s Notes: A nice read written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Let the athletes lead and let them be human.
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.