Drastic Toll Taken on Student Athletes Mental Health Due to Covid and Sports Shutdown

For many Quincy University student-athletes, the effects of Covid-19 and season shutdowns have taken a large toll on their mental health.

Sports and its athletes have, for as far back as it goes, been a time and place for community joy. It has always brought everyone together and large amounts of joy. From the competitive edge to the bonds created, sports are always a consistent thing.

Until 2020 that is. The unknown has quickly consumed the year and thrown a curveball into many athlete’s plans for success. 

Months of complete shutdown worldwide, quarantine for weeks, and seasons shutdown was now a reality for many. A majority of sports and their seasons were up in the air on whether or not they would be continued. 

The unknown is a scary place for many. Not only are the common folk worrying about uncertain futures but when it comes to the hawks athletes and thousands of athletes nationwide, the strain of not knowing whether or not their sport will continue has been a frontrunner in all conversations. 

Mental health is and has always been an extreme concern that can disrupt one’s daily life. It is very important for athletes, trainers, coaches, and any involved subjects to be aware of the potential impact a pandemic can contribute on the issue of mental health. 

The well being of athletes is first and foremost. That not only includes the physical side but also in such sensitive times, it could be argued that the mental side is even more crucial. While it’s important to be aware of the issue for a large majority of athletes it’s imperative that we as a society change the stigma and speak up about real issues.

“I understood why it was not safe to have our season in the fall. I was committed to keeping my circle small, social distancing, and wearing a mask. Then we had an outbreak as eventually expected and quarantined. I continued to take precautions but with all of that, being so far from friends and family, and having to do school as normal my mental health took a big dip. I felt like because I am young and healthy I am supposed to keep it together but we are all really struggling mentally in a serious way that I do not think our parents and administrators understand. We are in our 9th month of the pandemic and I do not feel like I have the leadership to look to or older adults that understand us,” Makayla Knoblauch said.

A year of unknown and uncertainty has brought athletes and athletic organizations to a slow down and a halt in some cases. Athletes have had more struggles in these crisis consumed times versus years past. For the Quincy training staff, it has been crucial to staying on top of the conversation surrounding the issue. 

“Mental health has been a big focus for all staff here at Quincy. We are really trying to attend to our student-athletes in ending the silence around the issue. It’s really important to know all of the warning signs and knowing the steps which you should take when handling someone showing signs,” Lauren Stachura said.

It is time to start the conversation and end the stigma surrounding athletes and their mental health. These are vulnerable times for all; exercising vigilance is always a positive and speaking up is important in starting the conversation. No one is alone in this. 

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