After six months of spring break, it’s refreshing to start a new semester of school.
But even coming back to school hasn’t allowed us to escape COVID-19 restrictions. One of these restrictions has been the absence of sports, and for many student-athletes, this is a devastating blow.
The absence of sports on our college campus may affect the mental health of student-athletes. There are many reasons for this theory, for even though sport teams are still practicing, practices are much fewer and there is no competition.
Add this to the preexisting overload of COVID-19 restrictions in everyday life and this is a cause for concern.
Sports become part of student-athletes’ daily schedule and part of their social life. Sports teams are practicing less and are required to wear masks and social distance while together, which puts restraint on a team community.
For many student-athletes, practices and games are a way to de-stress. With the pressure of school and classes, and the added strain of COVID-19, athletes need that time away to decompress.
But with the welcome break that playing sports creates taken away, athletes find themselves looking elsewhere to unwind.
Being an athlete can give a sense of purpose to a person, as for many student-athletes playing a sport becomes a big part of their lives.
Being used to giving time to a sport and then having it taken away can leave some people feeling like something is missing, and leave them purposeless. This feeling of purposelessness is a common reason that many people fall into depression.
Sports is a welcome distraction amongst the stress and pressures of school. This doesn’t just apply to athletes, but also spectators and fans of a school’s sports. Playing sports and watching sports is a way for students to take their mind off strains and relax and have fun.
Another reason that sports is important for student-athletes is that it creates a motivational climate. As playing a sport gives a person a sense of purpose, it also boosts their confidence, and taking away the sport can take away that confidence.
Being on a sports team can give support to a person most of the time, and a student-athlete’s team can be a support group. With much less contact with one’s team, and the absence of competition and games, the student-athlete can feel a loss of support on campus.
Playing sports keeps a person active, and physical activity is a huge factor in staying mentally strong. Physical activity keeps the brain alert, as well as being a form of escape for many people.
Many athletes play sports because they love to be active; it is how they cope with different circumstances and how they live. Even though student-athletes can still be active outside of sports, sports provide competition and push athletes in a way they couldn’t do themselves.
COVID-19 creates a stressful environment, and with the added absence of sports, many student-athletes find themselves in downcast positions.
These circumstances call for attention and student-athletes are encouraged to stay active and seek help if they find their mental health failing. Hopefully, sports can continue soon and student-athletes everywhere can find themselves playing the sport they love to the fullest again.