The impact of COVID-19 on student athlete's mental health

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 19:22:01-04

On a normal day, athletes deal with the anxiety of training with game day jitters.

Now, COVID-19 is causing even more anxiety for our student athletes.

With facilities closed, no face-to-face interaction and fear over losing a season, there are many reasons that student athletes are now faced with some of their toughest challenges yet.

”Is the Y open? Can I be close? Can I even play basketball? All these questions... the main thing we try to do to lower the anxiety level is by giving them facts,”said Kwame Cavil, Waco High Head Football Coach.

”We try not to look ahead. Lets worry and take care of what we can take care of and that’s right now. The kids and coaches have done a great job adjusting to what new stuff is thrown at them,”said Jeff Hulme, Midway Head Football Coach.

The NCAA conducted a student-athlete COVID-19 Well-Being Survey with over 37,000 participants.

The survey found that majority of the student athletes reported “experiencing high rates of mental distress since the pandemic. Over a third reported experiencing sleep difficulties, more than a quarter reported feeling sadness and a sense of loss, and 1 in 12 reported feeling so depressed it has been difficult to function, ‘constantly’ or ‘most every day.’”

“Just to continue to communicate with them that you know that there is hope. Stay strong. Stay vigilant and stay patient and stay faithful,”said Cavil.

Now, coaches are doing much more than teaching the X’s and O’s.

”I am still coach. I still have my do’s and don’t's, but in these times they gotta see another side of old coach,”said Kwame Cavil.

Athletes are looking to coaches as their primary source for information on the pandemic, training, mental health and social connections during this time.

“Sports are the main caveat of them even existing. They were raised on sports. They go to school because they get to go to athletic period. So with that being said, its come to a point, that us as coaches, teachers, and as mentors to show them another way. To let them know it ain't just about this,”said Kwame Cavil.