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Analyzing depression in young sportsmen

02-26 | Rachael

Analyzing depression in young sportsmen

Young aspiring sportsmen often avoid sharing their problems and inner battles with their team members, friends, coach and parents. The fear of getting pity from others, losing their position in the team and experiencing disgrace forces them to keep their problems to themselves. Athletes aspire to reach new heights of success and break any record set by their predecessors.

To achieve these goals, they go through rigorous training and other equally challenging processes. Due to a high expectations, it is quite natural for them to feel down in the dumps arising out of any dissatisfactory performance. Many a times, people around them are unable to identify the warning signs of depression. A sharp rise in the number of young sportsmen falling prey to depression is a wake-up call for everyone.

The recent suicide of Tyler Hilinski, a 21-year-old quarterback about to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in 2018, has jolted everyone. He reportedly used his former teammate’s rifle without his knowledge to shoot himself. Expressing shock and pain over the death, many highlighted that Hilinski was too social and jovial to take such a drastic step. As the motive of the suicide remains unclear, the incident highlights the way people suffering from depression succeed in concealing their condition from others. It seems he was too hurt to be able to make the decision of embracing life than kissing death.

Identifying symptoms and risk factors of depression

Some of the common symptoms witnessed in people grappling with depression include a range of emotional and physical problems, such as sadness, anxiety, changes in weight and appetite, anger, emotional withdrawal from daily activities and friends, lack of concentration and fatigue.  It can change the way a person thinks, behaves and feels. Since snapping out of depression is not easy, one needs to undergo appropriate treatment to augment the process of recovery.

Since sportsmen tend to associate their self-esteem with their performance, any bad day on the field can make them pessimistic and depressed. Generally, sports like football, rugby, etc. are seen as games meant for tough people; therefore, most of the cases of depression remain undetected for long. Given the above misconception and growing number of cases of depression, Drew Bledsoe, former Patriots’ quarterback, entreated youngsters through his social media posts to not shy away from seeking help to avoid being swept away by the dangerous waves of depression.

Having gone through similar experiences in the past, he understands the problem more than others do. He further highlighted that seeking help should not be perceived as a sign of weakness rather looked up as a mark of strength. Other primary reasons for depression in young athletes can be excessive training and injuries. The excessive pressure from the coach and family members decreases motivation and increases stress, thereby enhancing the probability of developing psychological disorders.

Develop stress-coping skills to keep mental disorders at bay

Overall, athletes can manage stress and any kind of depressive symptoms by taking various effective measures.  Some of these steps include relaxation, spending quality time with family, developing positive thinking, sharing inner inhibitions with loved ones, etc. Providing education and adequate mental health resources to athletes is vital for the prevention of depression.

In order to detect depression in young sportsmen, their coach, parents and friends must be made aware of the symptoms of depression. If there is any change in the behavior of any athlete, then the issue needs to be taken seriously. In addition, sports psychologists can play a vital role in understanding the physical and emotional challenges of athletes. Parents and coach must be encouraged to appreciate and comment on the sportsman’s effort and attitude rather than his or her performance.

Stigma and negative attitude are the biggest obstacles faced by sportsmen while asking for help for their mental condition. The pressure to maintain their phenomenal identity is responsible for developing depression in many sportsmen. If you know someone who is struggling with the symptoms of depression, contact the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado to access the best depression treatment centers in Colorado that deliver evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-427-5668 or chat online to know more about the depression treatment in Colorado.

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