March 25, 2017

Mental illness among athletes is growing issue in NCAA

The British Journal of Sports Medicine put out a study earlier this year showing almost a quarter of college athletes showing signs of depression based on a survey they completed. The study revealed female respondents were twice as likely to show signs of depression than male respondents.

The research showed athletes participating in track and field were the most likely to feel symptoms of depression. Following track and field are soccer, softball/baseball and lacrosse.

At the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) meeting back in January, the group’s medical chief specifically addressed mental health in collegiate athletes, and said the NCAA would lead the way in addressing these issues.

The new guidelines include getting student athletes treated by licensed mental health professionals and also creating a system where athletes will be referred to professionals rather than training staff when reporting a mental issue. The guidelines also require a mental health screening when taking a physical examination. Also, emergency plans are to be considered when athletes report suicidal thoughts.

According to Inside Higher Education, nine percent of collegiate athlete deaths, between 2004 and 2009, were a result of suicide.

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