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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Mental Health of High School Athletes


High school sports are an exciting and important part of students’ lives. Competition, friendship, and passion fuel athletes through the season, but in a vast number of cases, these things aren’t enough to keep student-athletes motivated.

In past years, the mental challenges and physical strain collegiate athletes face have been recognized. 

In the fall of 2021, 24 percent of male and 36 percent of female athletes ¨felt so depressed that it was difficult to function¨, according to an annual survey by the NCAA (the National Collegiate Athletic Association).  

To most people who haven’t played a high-level sport, this may come across as a shock. College athletes are portrayed as strong, dedicated people, but this doesn’t come without cost.

High school athletes are also affected by these mental struggles, however, this isn’t recognized as often as college athletes. This is because high school sports aren’t as publicized and seem miniscule compared to college sports. 

“It’s a lot having to go through practices in the morning to a full school day then to another practice after,” said Senior Varsity Football and Baseball Player Nathan Castro.

For sports like football, they require both morning and evening practices. As a result, this disrupts student athletes’ sleep schedules and spares no time for schoolwork. Making these sacrifices is a big decision, but they’re made for a reason. 

“There should only be one reason that motivates you to keep going and that reason should be your love for the game,” said Castro. 

For people who haven’t competed in a high school sport, this may not be as serious as it really is; they can simply just stop playing, which would solve all their issues.

However, it is much more complex than just quitting. Most athletes have a personal connection with the sport they compete with, and for some, it’s their way of getting into college. 

“Having to juggle all the after-school practices can not only make your grades decline, but it can also affect your mental health,” said Junior Olivia Raymond. Raymond is on both varsity dance and cheer. 

As you can imagine, keeping up with two different sports is a difficult task, especially with the pressures of being on an internet viral dance team. 

Not everything is as glorious as it seems. All we see of the Los Osos dance team is their sharp dance moves, but we don’t see the stress they go through and the time it’s taking out of the dancers’ lives. 

We must recognize these issues to make sure all student-athletes are educated about resources and are given the support they need. 

There are many ways to fix this issue, but the best way is to be there for someone when they’re in need. 

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