Student Athletes’ Mental Health One Year into Pandemic

People running on a brain track. Photo retrieved from https://globalsportmatters.com/health/2018/04/10/stigma-of-mental-health-issues-a-barrier-to-treatment-for-athletes/.

Zahcary Bennett ~ Guest Writer

     All sports are officially underway for the 2020-2021 academic year at the University of Lynchburg, exactly one year after the coronavirus pandemic began, which has left an impact on the mental health of student athletes.

     Director of Athletic Training Services, Caroline Wesley Siler, shared her support for athletes’ mental health.

     Siler stated, “I mean people have always had anxiety and depression and you know other, any other, you name it, eating disorders, any other type of mental health need. But it is just people are a lot more comfortable I think talking about it now and there is a lot more awareness.”

     She stressed that people do not realize how much quarantine impacts an individual’s mental health, unless they have experienced it themselves.

     She continued, “I think there is this low level of anxiety that everybody has. I think a lot of us hide it well.”

     The University has handled the situation to the best of their ability, currently possessing four positive cases on campus, according to the most recent weekly update students received by the University’s President.

     University of Lynchburg senior, and member of the Women’s 2021 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Swimming Championship team, Victoria Rogansky, stated, “I think we have done a decent job. With regards to athletics, I think letting us keep practicing and things like that has been really great and letting us keep practicing safely.”

     Rogansky helped create the University’s chapter of The Hidden Opponent, which works to advocate for mental health amongst student athletes.

     “I want to see people take more leadership roles and talk about it a little bit more on this campus,” stated Rogansky.

     This new resource is an opportunity for student athletes to understand struggling with mental health is a common issue that was magnified by the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of people wearing masks

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceJunior Haydn Updike, Assistant Coach Alyssa Reed, and Senior Victoria Rogansky all pose with the 2021 ODAC Women’s Swimming trophy. *Photo taken by Caroline Gerke

Source List

Director of Athletic Training Services, Caroline Wesley Siler, wesley_c@lynchburg.edu

University of Lynchburg Senior, Victoria Rogansky, rogansky_v@lynchburg.edu

Wyland, Debra, personal communication, March 12, 2021

Interview Recordings:

Caroline Wesley Siler: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ed6HZWt_1sxdTzTQNzHkToTBnAkIFCfi/view?usp=sharing 

Victoria Rogansky: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qlAXwB0HivBWHXXHHbzCpmI9prT-6Vss/view?usp=sharing

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