Brain Games

How sports can benefit and hurt your mental state

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Makenzie Schaible-Herold, Staffer

     In addition to the fun and games of sports, however, sports can also help athletes stay mentally and physically healthy.

     “Soccer makes me happy,” sophomore Cole Ellison said. “When I’m playing I feel like I don’t have to worry about anything except the game.”

    When a student-athlete is injured, there is a normal emotional reaction that includes processing the medical information about the injury provided by the medical team, as well as coping emotionally with the injury. Athletic trainer Miranda Gafford says that athletics teaches students how to mentally recover and put mistakes behind them. 

    “Being able to think and act under pressured situations is something they learn on the field,” Gafford said. “They have to be able to think and act quickly, especially the varsity players. If they miss a play or read something wrong, they have to be able to let go and move on.”

     When an athlete gets injured, there is a process of recovery. Depending on the severity of the injury, it can be a lengthy process. Athletic Coordinator and head football Coach Joshua Mann says that when a student has to have surgery, the mental comeback is something they really have to focus on. 

     “When you get into the injuries that require surgery,” Mann said. “We have to figure out where they are psychologically because there is a big obstacle when coming back from surgery or a mental injury. Just because they are physically ready, doesn’t always mean they are in the right state of mind to be back on the field.”

      In high school, the no pass no play rule is something coaches and students take seriously. If a student fails out, they let down their whole team and their fans. When that stress is put on someone it can mess with their mental state, making them stressed and not able to focus on the task at hand, balancing their classes and fulfilling their duties on the team.

     “When I have free time in my day I go to my teachers for help,” sophomore Ashlyn Sligar said. “If it’s a day I don’t have practice, I will go to tutorials, or go in during advocate. If there’s ever a time when I don’t understand it and my teachers aren’t available I will just ask my friends for help.”