Mental Health in Athletes…When Will This End?

Mental Health in Athletes...When Will This End?

Abby Edwards, Staff Writer/Editor

Since March 1, 2022, nothing has been the same in the world of sports, especially college sports. Recent light has shown bright on the negative side of athletics; such as performance enhancing drugs, extra years of eligibility and even forms of sexual abuse, but sadly nothing can compare to the detrimental amount of mental health and suicide that has been committed in the recent two months.

Yes this is a hard topic to talk about, not saying that sexual misconduct and abuse is not, but the recent focus of the NCAA and the world, has been the unprecedented amounts of struggling student-athletes all over the country.

Robert Martin (right), who played for SUNY Binghamton and Corcoran High School, died by suicide on Friday, April 1, 2022.

This epidemic of publicized mental health was put directly in the spot light for the first time in a very long time on March 1st, with the unexpected death of Katie Meyer, a senior goaltender at Stanford University.

April 1, Robert Martin a SUNY Binghamton graduate and also lacrosse player that died from suicide.

April 4, Jayden Hill a New Mexico University track and field athlete that was said struggled from mental health.

Announced on April 15, Sarah Shulze, a University of Wisconsin track runner that unexpectedly took her own life at 21 years old.

And the death of Lauren Bernett, University of James Madison’s softball teams catcher, died on April 26.

This needs to stop. The unimaginable amount of mental health that people are not aware of within athletes due to the pressure to play perfect, be prepared and live a life with little to no time off is not easy to understand. The weight of mental illness is pouring out on every social media presence everywhere, and now in every single sport that there is.

Due to the amount of lives taken and heartbreak within every life lost, a certain university has taken the decision to end their season.

The James Madison Dukes softball program has decided to end their 2022 season at a final record of 21-21 with one more series left, as well as the conference tournament, the Dukes still  had a promising run. After last years monumental World Series run, and having Lauren Bernett as their brick wall behind home, you cannot blame the program for ending the season and putting focus back on the insides of the athletes where it belongs.

A team picture of the Dukes, with Lauren in the middle.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and one that was not made lightly,” head coach Loren LaPorte said in a statement. After consoling with the rest of the team, and especially the seniors, the entire program decided it was best to heal without the rest of their season, and remember Lauren.

All over the country players are wearing ribbons in support of those whose lives we have lost, but ultimately when will it truly change? When will the players matter more that the outcome of a game or season? When will the people in the jersey matter more than the amount of money that they make? When will student-athletes matter?