Student Athletes Need More Support From the School and Administration

Pictured%2C+part+of+Dice+girls+soccer+team

Jeremiah Dugan

Pictured, part of Dice girls soccer team

Allderdice is known to many as a sports-centered school. There are many different teams, from basketball to golf to cross country, with many students participating in athletics across the board. Many student athletes put in long hours after school and during the weekends to train and become good at the sport they are passionate about. While putting in these long hours, many also balance rigorous amounts of school work. Both of these require a large time commitment, and can put a strain on student athletes’ mental health-not to mention the physical turmoil that it can put on the body. Schools all over the US encourage being in a sport or doing an extracurricular as well as taking advanced courses. So with the administration pushing these ideas on students, what are they doing to help those students keep their heads above water?

In a survey done by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of Student Athletes, they found that out of the 195,000 people surveyed, 30% said they had experienced depression in the last 12 months. Many high school athletes are getting home late at night due to practice or games, and then staying up through the night to get work done then waking up at 5-6am to get to school and then go to practice and do it all over again. 

When asked if her sport made it difficult to keep up with her school work, Maddy Ruder, a junior rower at Allderdice ,reported, “Yes definitely, getting home from practice late means that I have both less time and energy to put into getting my school work done. If I get home at seven on an average night I would only have three hours or so to get stuff done before I should probably be going to sleep.”

Schools don’t give these student athletes enough credit for the work they have to do to stay ahead, and they don’t give credit to how important it is for most people. Not only is it something they’re passionate about, but many of these athletes are riding on their sport for a scholarship to go to a college they most likely wouldn’t have been able to attend or afford before. Though doing physical activity has proven to help people’s mental health, being part of a team or being a student athlete usually builds an idea of “the best don’t rest” and “the grind doesn’t stop.” These ideas make it so students don’t know when they need to take a break or give themselves time. These athletes also have immense pressure on them to do well in school and within their sport, which brings on more of a toxic mindset.

When asked what he thought of how to school dealt with mental illness such as anxiety developing in student athletes, Dr. McCoy, the Allderdice principal, said, ““I think we’re getting better and there has been more and more awareness of it from our level. I know that’s something our social workers and counselors deal with all the time because students have all this anxiety and partially because of everything they’re taking on even if it’s not sports.”

Our schools and administration need to find a better way to deal with this problem because though it is prevalent everywhere nowhere in the school are they actively attempting to help these students. When Ruder was asked if the school gives resources so help student athletes she responded with, “Not at all. I have never heard of any program or been offered by anyone help in this aspect.” This needs to change because, as high schoolers, we still don’t know when or how to take a break. If all we are ever told is to just push through, we will until there are major consequences. 

A way to help these student athletes is to create a system or program that is set in place to support these students and provide information about the subject. Ruder agrees with this idea, saying, “I think having student athletes be part of a program. A program like this would help to support student athletes in both educational and athletic careers.” If students were aware of this and were taught techniques to help them deal with stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as feeling supported by the administration can help students immensely.