In a normal year, high school athletes would start their fall seasons later this month. But this year is anything but "normal." For many athletes, their challeges may be more mental than physical.
"It becomes all-consuming. Their sport is their identity," says Kimberly Williams, behavioral health care manager at the Children’s Health Andrews Institute. "When the payoff for an athlete is performance and competition, and they're not able to have that, they can likely experience some really deep feelings of grief, denial, and disbelief."
So the Andrews Institute is out with some tips to support athletes through the changes in the sports season.
"We are looking after the whole athlete," says Williams. "Right now, at the forefront is mental health."
Williams says sometimes athletes present with symptoms that mask anxiety and depression. But she says to pay attention to their sleep hygiene, changes in appetite, and avoidance of social interactions, which can indicate there is a deeper problem.