Be the first to like.

Share
Faced with a crippling depression, Olympic swimmer Allison Schmitt would wake every morning wanting nothing more than to go back to bed. “I was failing every time I dove into the pool,” she told Today in August. A years-long battle was exacerbated by a family suicide in 2015, and it took a concentrated effort by Schmitt and the people close to get her out of the hole. In Rio, she won gold and silver medals in the 4x200m and 4x100m freestyle relays, respectively.

 

Athletes, like everyone else, suffer from mental-health issues—ailments generally far more difficult to assess than a pulled muscle or broken bone.  Unlike everyone else, however, athletes perform in controlled, quantified environments. A person who isn’t in training doesn’t always have crystal-clear markers for how an anxiety disorder impacts their life, but an athlete faces cold numbers every time they step on the field: distances run, assists made, goals scored, games won.

Because of this, sports may offer unique ways to measure mental health. As brain-imaging technologies and advances in neuroscience help link the state of the mind to the state of the body, the ability to objectively trace mental health’s influence on athletic performance could provide tools for investigations into how mental health more broadly affects everyone.

Be the first to like.

Share
The Atlantic

Leave a Reply