Recent college athlete deaths draw attention to mental health

In 2021, sports fans around the world learn about the issue of women’s mental health in sports from Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka.

Osaka is a champion Japanese tennis player. But last year she said she did not want to talk to reporters at the French Open. After her first match, Osaka decided to withdraw from the event. She said critical questions from reporters made her lose Confidence in its ability to play.

Later, Osaka said that she experienced long periods of intense sadness known as depression after winning the US Open in 2018.

At the postponed Summer Olympics in Tokyo, top American gymnast Simone Biles didn’t compete in some of her best events. She said she felt too pressured to perform. She said she was “fighting” with herself. Bills left the gymnastics team competition and the US gymnastics team took the silver instead of the gold.

FILE- Simone Biles, of the United States, practices her training routine during the women's artistic gymnastics qualifiers at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo.  (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

FILE- Simone Biles, of the United States, practices her training routine during the women’s artistic gymnastics qualifiers at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Biles returned to competition in the Olympics and won a bronze medal. When the Olympics are over, she said it will take some time but has not said if she will try to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Almost a year later, Osaka played the tournaments again. She recently reached the finals of the Miami Open in Florida, USA.

Not only professional athletes

Osaka and Biles are two of the most famous women athletes In the world. But college sports officials in the United States are concerned that not enough is being done to support the mental health of young female athletes.

Many women compete in college and university sports. Millions of people don’t watch their softball and soccer matches. But their health is still an important issue.

In addition, some young female athletes are now making money in their sport and feel pressure to present an image and meet the requirements of the sport. business deals.

Stanford University basketball players wear the letters KM on their wrists in honor of soccer player Katie Meyer, who died by suicide earlier this year.  (AP Photo/David Becker, File)

Stanford University basketball players wear the letters KM on their wrists in honor of soccer player Katie Meyer, who died by suicide earlier this year. (AP Photo/David Becker, File)

But this year, the death of the female athlete showed that mental health is just as important as physical health. Three American college students died by suicide. Katie Meyer was twenty-two years old. She was a soccer player at Stanford University in California. Sarah Schulz was a 21-year-old runner at the University of Wisconsin. The third is 20-year-old Lauren Burnett, a prominent softball player on the team at James Madison University in Virginia.

Mental health support efforts

Paul Newberry is a staff writer for the Associated Press. In a recent opinion piece, he wrote: “May their death not be Without avail. “

This means he hopes that officials who oversee college sports will view mental health as just as important as physical health. He suggested they do more to prevent young athletes who may develop depression from hurting themselves.

Jane Timmons Mitchell is a professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I spoke with Newberry and she said often when people hear about young people killing themselves, they ask “Why?” But she wants people to ask, “What?” What can we do about this? How can we be the most helpful and most effective? “

Paul Myerberg writes about sports for USA TODAY. He said that some large university groups with sports links, known as conferences, are trying to help athletes with their concerns and interests.

In late 2021, three major athletic conferences joined in to work to bring attention to the mental health issues of college athletes. The mental health plan is called Teammates for Mental Health.

Kevin Warren leads one group of schools called the Big Ten Conference. He said: This is Initiative It was designed to remind all of us, especially our student-athletes, of define the priorities our mental health and seek professional help when needed.”

Dr. James Purchers is the Chief Medical Officer of the Big Ten. He told USA Today that adults who play college sports need to make mental health “a topic that’s okay to talk about…without any of its kind.” stigma or without any kind of judgment.”

Newberry said the three young women’s stories should make people “renew” their commitment to helping those in need. He called Newberry to be vigilant and have “love and sympathyRather than judging others.

In this July 31, 2012 file photo, American Alison Schmidt holds her gold medal after winning the women's 200m freestyle final at the Aquatics Center at Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza, file)

In this July 31, 2012 file photo, American Alison Schmidt holds her gold medal after winning the women’s 200m freestyle final at the Aquatics Center at Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza, file)

get out of the dark

Alison Schmidt won four golds medals In her Olympic swimming career. She said she thought about hurting herself even after winning medals at the 2012 London Olympics. No one ever wanted to feel this way, she said, “but that feeling is true for a lot of people and their families”.

Schmidt said many people who feel like they want to hurt themselves are afraid but don’t know how to “get out of the dark.” It took three years after the Olympics to find help from a professional.

Timmons Mitchell said many people have felt lonely over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions made it difficult for athletes to keep in touch with friends who were not on their sports teams.

Epidemiological changes

As much as they love their sport, Timmons Mitchell said, some athletes felt as if the sport had taken over their identity.

“It really is the perfect storm,” she said of the pandemic.

Dr. Ashwin Rao is a sports physician at the University of Washington. During the pandemic in late 2020, he gave a presentation to the American Medical Association for Sports Medicine. He said depression affects young women more than other groups. During the pandemic, Rao said, it has been difficult for sports coaches and doctors to spend time with college athletes.

As a result, they were unable to recognize changes in behavior. Suggest a fix:

“(Spend) time with the athletes as best as you can until you know who they are. So if their behavior changes, you can get to know it.”

I’m Jill Robbins. And I’m Dan Friedel.

Dan Friedel adapted this report for English language learning based on a story by The Associated Press.

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The words in this story

Confidence– n. Feeling that you can do something good and succeed

athletes– n. Someone trained or good at sports

Without avail – Phrase: It meant not producing the desired result

Initiative – n. A plan or program aimed at solving a problem

define the priorities – Fifth. To make something the most important thing in the group

stigma – n. A set of negative or unfair beliefs that society has about something

sympathy – n. Feeling like helping someone who is sick or in trouble

medal – n. A coin in the form of a coin awarded in honor of an achievement, such as winning a competition

.