By Robert B. Andrews MA, LMFT
The coronavirus outbreak has sent a shock wave of anxiety and concern throughout the world of sports. Here in the United States, the MLB, the NBA, and the new XFL have postponed or canceled their seasons. The NCAA has canceled March Madness. Entire seasons in gymnastics, baseball, tennis, and numerous other sports have been put on hold or canceled.
Athletes in junior high, high school, and college are not going to school as we wait and see how bad this crisis gets and how long it will last.
With the sudden halt of these seasons and the lack of the structured environment that school provides, hundreds of thousands of athletes throughout the country must face a serious transition. This transition forces the athlete to face a number of key stressors and losses that could impact one’s mental and emotional health and well-being.
Athletes must face and adjust to these losses:
- The loss of a highly structured school and team environment.
- The loss of routines and daily rituals.
- The loss of identity associated with being a student or athlete.
- The loss of the dreams that go with a promising season or key event.
- The loss of an active lifestyle that stimulates one’s mind and body.
- The loss of a highly competitive mindset in the classroom and in sport.
- The loss of comradery and connection to a team.
- The loss or ending of a career.
- The loss of activities associated with campus life.
- The loss of family-centered events (games, tournaments, and travel)
Athletes don’t train for a critical event like this and the losses that come with it. The further along one is in their career, the more difficult it might be to face this shutdown. [Read more…]