Demanding Schedules

athlete scheduleThe schedule an athlete lives under can be grueling, allowing them no personal time to themselves to recuperate. This is a common problem among pro athletes and anyone with a celebrity status. Because they are such a valuable commodity to their industry, they begin to be treated like a commodity: something that has been found to be successful and is therefore made overly available. Athlete’s managers and agents can be brutal on their athletes in the sense that they overfill their schedules with events and commitments, causing stress and lower mental health in the athlete.

The elements of an athlete’s job are difficult enough to cope with. The pressure to outperform themselves and their competition is immense, and the ramifications of failing at this can be devastating for an athlete’s mental health. Their work schedules are highly demanding, with coaches and managers on top of them during training and during competitions. A win is an incredible high, but a loss is devastating. The job can also cause horrible injuries from which there is no recovering.

Instead of being able to soothe themselves in their off time, like other working professionals, their personal calendars are filled up with PR events, media appearances and other events that seek interviews and appearances from professional athletes. Pro athletes often obtain a celebrity status that makes the expectations on their publicity very high. The life of a professional athlete is not a restful one. Some athletes meet these expectations with a sturdy foundation, but others become mentally overwhelmed and have no outlet for the stress and pressure of their profession.

The life schedules that professional athletes maintain are highly taxing. The average person cannot appreciate how stressful the pressures on an athlete’s body and mind are. Between the enormously high expectations on their physical performance, the grueling training, the threat of injury and the absence of free time, it is amazing that more athletes do not receive professional counseling.

Brain Injuries

athlete brain injuryAthletes are professionals who are at a much higher risk of sustaining brain injuries than others. Particularly in rough contact sports such as football and rugby, athletes can be prone to head injuries that cause permanent or temporary brain damage, altering how the athlete perceives and interacts with the world around them. This is a very important consideration to an athlete’s mental health considering that they are susceptible to losing brain function, and in so doing, suffering grief at the loss of their brain function.

When an athlete experiences a head injury and brain damage is the consequence of it, the athlete will have to adjust to life with lower brain function. This means lower cognition, less clarity and/or the inability to process certain pieces of information. Brain damage happens to many people who go through accidents, and it is known to be one of the hardest conditions to live with. Understanding and acting on certain things is changed forever. The individual is forced to relearn how to do a number of basic things and relearn processes that are second nature to others. They need to adjust their lives around their condition and live with the knowledge that they are not as free and flexible as they used to be.

The emotional hardship that an athlete goes through when they lose brain function is debilitating. Most people who sustain brain injury have a memory of how they used to be able to do things and the difficulty of coping with their personal loss is immense. Many experience incredible frustration at the inability to function like they used to. It is not uncommon for a person to fall into depression over their brain injury because of how hard coping with it can be. Athletes are rugged, independent people who are accustomed to fighting their own battles and coming out on top. Some manage brain injury gracefully while others go through extreme devastation over it, significantly lowering their mental health.