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Student Athlete’s and Stress

Who wouldn’t want to be big man on campus? You get all the attention, all the looks, all the invites. Maybe it isn’t all its cracked up to be.  According to a study done in 2003 by Kimball and Freysinger, athletic participation itself can become an additional stressor that traditional college students do not experience.

We are all in college, we all understand the rigorous amount of work that is put on each of our plates. However, while some of us are working part time or full time jobs when we are not in class. There is the student athlete who is not able to have a compensating job because they spend so much time in and out of practice. A typical schedule can run 6 am to 8 pm. Then they go to sleep, wake up and do it all over again. A 14 hour day, 5 days a week without any means of income. 14 hours later, the athlete is finally home for the day. They want to just hang out and relax but they have homework to do. They want to play Xbox with their squad but they have a test to study for. They want to sleep but they have to patch up relationship issues.

Now that the daily grind is over, the student athlete still needs to hone their skills and continue to progress with their physical talents. Excellence is demanded. Consistency is expected. Progression is imperative. If they are failing to meet their expectations or obligations with “on the field/court” performance, that is bound to cause them to try and overcompensate to fix that. For instance, instead of sleeping, dedicating more time in the weight room. Then, they can get that starting position. Bypassing sleep is not healthy. In fact, according to the Mayo clinic, as adults we should be getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, sitting on the bench isn’t desirable either. Something has to give, and more often than not its the athlete giving up sleep.

Outside of athletic purposes, student athletes are also confined to their school. A lot of students are taking trips to visit their high school friends at other campuses, going out of town for concerts, or simply going back home. Those options just are not that realistic for student athletes. They don’t get to see their parents whenever they would like. Its hard for them to keep in contact with people they grew up with as they don’t get to see them nearly as much as they would desire.

Lets not pretend as if sports do not demand this though. Somebody is always trying to get better, doing anything to gain a competitive advantage. If a team slacks off and does not enforce their strict regulations and practice times, then their “on the field/court” success will suffer. Maybe the student athlete wasn’t ready for all of this at once. Maybe they just signed on for the love of the game rather than working a 24/7 job with no compensation. Student athletes may have a lot of perks but lack of stress is not one of them.

Maybe some think that student athlete has it so easy, and maybe the student athlete looks at them the same way.

“One in every four college students suffers from mental illness.”
The following resources are available at NDSU and in the community:

Free NDSU counseling programs
The Fortitude Project: LGBTQA Support Group
3:30 – 4:50 p.m. Thursdays. A confidential support group for
LGBT students. Provides opportunities for students to discuss and
connect with fellow Bison about self-identification.
Meditation for Stress Management and Improved
3 – 4 p.m. Mondays. Since 2001, this group of students, faculty
and staff practices mindful meditation. All are welcome; weekly
attendance is not mandatory.
Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Support Group
2 – 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Open for any NDSU student concerned
with substance abuse or dependence.
Graduate Student Support Group
12 – 1:30 p.m. Friday. Provides a setting for graduate students
to meet and connect with their peers.
Mental health institutions in North Dakota
North Dakota State Counseling Center: 212 Ceres Hall.
(701) 231-7671.
“(P)rovides a confidential setting in which students may explore
concerns of a personal, academic or career-related nature; makes
referrals; and serves as consultants,” NDSU Counseling Center
website reads. The service is included in student fees.
Prairie St. John’s: 510 Fourth St. S. (877) 333-9565. prairiestjohns.
Since 1997, Prairie St. John’s has served the Fargo-Moorhead
community. The fully licensed and accredited facility serves all
patients suffering from mental health issues, chemical dependency
addition or co-occurring disorders.
Sanford Behavioral Health: 100 Fourth St. S. (701) 234-
Offering behavioral health, counseling, psychiatry and
psychology, Sanford Health provides varieties of “therapeutic
strategies to reduce symptoms, improve life skills and help people
regain control of their lives,” its website reads.
North Dakota Suicide Prevention Program: 600 East
Blvd. Ave., Dept. 301, Bismarck. (800) 273-8255.
Suicide is the eighth-leading cause of death in North Dakota. The
hotline listed above is available at any time for those thinking of
committing suicide.
Neuropsychiatric Research Institute:700 First Ave. S.
(701) 293-1335.
NRI is home to the Eating Disorders Institute, which “offers
state-of-the-art therapies to treat anorexia nervosa, bulimia
nervosa and obesity,” its website reads.
Dacotah Foundation:
112 N. University Dr. Suite 230. (701) 364-0743
The non-profit organization’s mission statement reads,
“To provide a system of care that enhances the quality of life
for children and adults with mental illness and/or chemical
Further resources A national non-profit mental illness
advocacy organization for anxiety and depression The International OCD Foundation helps individuals
overcome their disorder The Mental Health America of North Dakota website An online resource for college-related mental
health questions

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