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Mind, Body and Sport: The Psychologist Perspective

By Chris Carr and Jamie Davidson, NCAA, 04/02/19, 12:00PM CDT

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Student-athletes, coaches and staff tend to minimize mental disorders or psychological distress because of the expectations of strength, stability and "mental toughness" inherent in the sports culture

Intercollegiate athletics embodies a unique and demanding culture. The pressures and demands on 18- to 21-year-old student-athletes are great. Their wins and losses are seen by many, questioned by many, and often criticized publicly.

Even within the athletics environment, student-athletes' time demands are enormous – daily practices, competitions that may involve travel (some across time zones), a full academic course load, strength and conditioning programs, and sports medicine/rehab appointments present a demanding schedule indeed. Social interactions and relationships often take a back seat to the athletically related challenges and commitments. It is no surprise that these pressures can affect a student-athlete's mental health.