The importance of mental health in sports

Ellie Wrage, Opinion Editor

The stigma behind mental health is slowly fading. Leading busy lives, athletes around the world are coming to terms with the importance of self-care and mental health. In regards to the psychological well-being of their own lives as well as others, athletes are speaking up about the balance between sport and health.

“We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day, we’re human, too,” said US Gymnastics Olympian Simone Biles.

On a typical day, Biles is at the gym by 7 a.m. for a three-and-a-half hour training session. After some time at home, Biles returns to the gym at 2 p.m. for a second three-and-a-half hour training session. With her schedule revolving around gymnastics, Biles has little time for self-care. So, why does this matter? As well respected and idolized people, athletes are often burdened with unrealistic expectations of perfection. Focusing on winning and being at the top of their game, many ignore internal struggles. For Biles, an injury was in sight if she didn’t stop to take care of her emotional health.

Athletes like Biles are learning to succeed by honing in on their psychological and emotional state. For decades, athletes have been taught to push through the pain, but change is materializing. 

“I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s O.K. to not be O.K., and it’s O.K. to talk about it,” said Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka.