With sports on pause, some students lose a key coping mechanism
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sports medicine specialists said some of the recent spikes in depression and anxiety may be linked to a shut down of our coping mechanisms.

For many student athletes, that means "back in the game" could benefit the body and the brain.

Max Farris and Mason South have continued to train as much as possible, even though they can't play soccer or football with high school teams right now.

And while physical therapist Rob Neltner of OrthoCincy said it is a good thing to stay well for when these athletes can play again, there's another side of not playing that both of these student athletes said has majorly impacted their lives.

"At first I thought no school would be nice, but as it kept going I felt kind of sad," said Farris.

It was the mental health boost both say they really miss the most.

"Soccer for me is a big stress reliever. Everything I do with all the struggles of a high school life. It was always nice to get out there, get some of the energy out. It's definitely hard now," said Farris.

"I really just miss all my teammates," said South. "As a football team, you spend the whole year together, specially summer. Early mornings. I'm missing them now."

While sports medicine specialist doctor Nick Gates admitted his focus is the students physical health first, for a lot of reasons right now, "We are a little bit concerned about the student athletes that have been out.

"Those out may be missing serious team benefits according to an NIH study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.

It said, "Team sport athletes may be less likely to suffer anxiety or depression than individual sport athletes."

The study found no matter what sport, playing with others may have benefits you can't get playing alone.

That's something Katy Talento said needs to be considered as officials reopen the country and competitive team sports.

Talento is a former public health policy advisor to President Trump.

"We are best served when we leave these decisions to the absolute most local level, because that is the most accountable level. So a mayor is more accountable than governor, who is more accountable than a president, and ultimately who's the most accountable for your life, it's you. So the more decisions we can leave to the people, not just the states, but to the people themselves, I think the better we will be," Talento said.

No argument from Farrus and South, who said getting back on the field gets them a lot more energized in this important game none of us take for granted right now called life.