In my previous blog post, I talked about the mental health and wellness of student-athletes, and how poor mental health affects performance in the classroom, on the field, in the pool, or in the gym. Many athletes today struggle to maintain good mental health because of the many stressors added to their everyday lives. Organizations and individuals are working tirelessly to provide aid for these issues and to break the stigma of speaking out about mental health. As previously stated in my most recent blog, one of these organizations, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which is the governing body for most collegiate sports, has teamed up with other groups to promote student-athlete wellness and research this invisible injury. Organizations like the NCAA Sports Science Institute are looking to educate college level athletes on their health, promote general well being, and provide the best environments for growth and success (“Sport”). The NCAA and its Sport Science Institute are two of many groups helping collegiate student-athletes to maintain good physical and mental health and working to create a society where speaking about mental illness is normalized.
On the NCAA official website, there is an entire section devoted to mental health and offers several educational resources which provides information about safety and wellness for college athletes. According to the NCAA, “Mental health exists on a continuum, with resilience and thriving on one end of the spectrum and mental health disorders that disrupt a college athlete’s functioning and performance at the other” (“Mental”). While acting as the head of most collegiate sports, the NCAA works to provide easy access to mental healthcare for all student-athletes. When it comes to athlete well being, it provides guidance through the information found on their website. These tools include ideas for safe practices that are to be implemented on campuses and different data and research analysis for topics ranging from how student-athletes interact with their environment to student-athlete substance use (“Mental”). The NCAA Sports Science Institute is a primary leader in offering physical and mental health improvement and safe environment resources to colleges across the country. The SSI’s mission is to “promote and develop safety, excellence and wellness in college student-athletes, and to foster lifelong physical and mental development” (Powell). One of the SSI’s primary topics covered is mental health. Through virtual learning opportunities, the Sports Science Institute teaches athletes, coaches, and athletic administrators how to support and look after mental wellness and take care of the mind as well as supplies information on various mental illnesses. The SSI also highlights other organizations focusing on how to take care of one’s mental health, including the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (“Mental”). Overall, the NCAA’s ultimate goal is to provide student-athletes with the best environments to thrive in. In order to create such environments, this organization emphasizes good mental health applications and is striving to make seeking care for mental health as normal as looking for help for physical ailments.
The NCAA and the Sport Science Institute are promoting collegiate level student-athletes’ wellness, are attempting to break the stigma around mental health by providing information about mental illness, and ultimately desire to create places where athletes can thrive and achieve their goals. The NCAA is working to create these safe environments for student-athletes, and the SSI works with organizations across the country to research mental health and normalize what may seem like a sensitive topic. The institution is helping foster the future development of student-athletes. Therefore, the NCAA is not only helping athletes throughout their years in college but is preparing and teaching each person how to properly take care of themselves once out in the working world. The NCAA and its Sports Science Institute offers lifelong lessons to promote the overall well being of student-athletes all over the United States.
“Mental Health.” NCAA.org – The Official Site of the NCAA, www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/mental-health.
Powell, R. “About the SSI.” NCAA.org – The Official Site of the NCAA, 22 Jan. 2021, www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/about-ssi.
“Sport Science Institute.” NCAA.org – The Official Site of the NCAA, www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute.