The Role of Therapy in Balancing Sports and Academics

March 29, 2024

College sports play a pivotal role in the lives of student-athletes, demanding physical and mental resilience. According to a survey conducted by the NCAA, it was found that student-athletes face unique challenges that can impact their mental health. The pressure to excel both academically and athletically, coupled with rigorous training schedules, places student-athletes at an increased risk of stress, anxiety, and depression. In fact, a study published in the "Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology"; revealed that the prevalence of mental health symptoms among college athletes is comparable to, if not higher than, their non-athlete counterparts. These findings underscore the necessity of mental health support within college sports programs.

Therapy and counseling plays a crucial role in addressing the mental health needs of college athletes, offering a tailored approach to managing stressors and
maintaining overall well-being. The American College Health Association reports that approximately 30% of college students have felt so stressed within the past 12 months that it negatively impacted their academic performance. For student- athletes, the impact is compounded by the additional stressors related to sports performance. Open Arms Wellness, located in St. Louis and Columbia, MO., aims to equip athletes with coping mechanisms, stress management skills, and a support system to navigate the unique challenges they face. These interventions not only contribute to the mental health of student-athletes but can also positively influence their athletic performance and overall college experience.

How can college sports affect academics?

Extensive research suggests a complex relationship between college sports participation and academic outcomes. According to a study published in the
"Journal of Higher Education"; student-athletes often face time constraints due to their rigorous training schedules and travel commitments, impacting their ability to allocate sufficient time to academic pursuits. Data from the NCAA indicates that the time demands placed on student-athletes can contribute to challenges in maintaining academic performance, with a substantial percentage reporting higher levels of stress related to time constraints. This is further emphasized by a report from the College Sport Research Institute, revealing that the time commitment for Division I athletes is significantly higher than that of non-athletes.

How likely is it to seek mental help for a serious injury from college sports?

The high-stakes environment of college sports can pose significant physical and mental health risks for student-athletes, often necessitating therapeutic
interventions. According to a report by the NCAA, the rate of injuries among college athletes is alarmingly high, with over 1.2 million injuries reported
annually. These injuries, ranging from concussions to musculoskeletal issues not only jeopardize the athletes' physical well-being, but also contribute to
heightened stress levels and mental health challenges. A study published in the "Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology" revealed that 21% of college athletes reported symptoms of depression, emphasizing the mental toll that the demanding and competitive nature of college sports can exact. These statistics underscore the imperative for therapy as an essential component in addressing the multifaceted risks associated with college sports, providing athletes with the necessary tools to navigate both the physical and psychological challenges they may encounter. Open Arms Wellness is a great option for student athletes seeking mental help, we have a very welcoming office, and are therapists will welcome you with a big smile.

Why should parents of college athletes enroll them in therapy at Open Arms Wellness, in Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri?

Parents of college student-athletes play a pivotal role in supporting their children's holistic development and enrolling them in therapy at Open Arms
Wellness can be a crucial investment in their well-being. According to a study published in the "Journal of Applied Sport Psychology", student-athletes who receive psychological support, including therapy and counseling, report lower levels of anxiety and higher levels of self-confidence. The demands of collegiate
sports can place immense pressure on student-athletes, and therapy provides a dedicated space for them to process these challenges. Another compelling
statistic from the American Psychological Association indicates that student-athletes who engage in mental health services, such as therapy and counseling
with qualified therapists, are more likely to persist in their sports involvement and experience enhanced athletic performance.

Furthermore, compassionate therapists at Open Arms Wellness can offer a platform for student-athletes to navigate the delicate balance between academic
responsibilities and sports commitments. Research from the Journal of College Counseling suggests that therapy and counseling interventions contribute
positively to time management skills, reducing stress related to academic pressures. For parents, these statistics underscore the tangible benefits of
therapy in fostering their children's mental resilience, improving their overall psychological well-being, and enhancing their capacity to thrive both academically
and athletically. Enrolling student-athletes in therapy at Open Arms Wellness, located in Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri, not only addresses immediate
concerns but also equips them with essential coping mechanisms that can positively influence their long-term mental health trajectory.

How does the absence of counseling affect teachers and coaches in college athletes?

The absence of counseling for college athletes can have a profound impact on their coaches and teachers, influencing both the athletic and academic realms.
Coaches invest significant time and energy into nurturing the potential of their athletes, and the mental well-being of these individuals plays a crucial role in
team dynamics and performance. When athletes do not receive necessary mental health support, coaches may find themselves grappling with challenges related to motivation, focus, and team cohesion. The psychological stressors that student-athletes endure, if left unaddressed, can translate into on-field performance issues and strained interpersonal dynamics within the team, ultimately affecting the overall coaching experience.

Teachers, too, are affected when college athletes lack access to therapy. Academic success is intricately linked to mental well-being, and untreated mental
health issues can impede students' ability to concentrate, participate, and excel in their studies. When athletes face challenges without the support of therapy,
teachers may observe a decline in academic performance, increased absenteeism, and difficulty meeting coursework demands. This not only poses challenges for individual student-athletes but also presents a broader issue for educators as they navigate the complexities of promoting a positive learning environment. The well-being of college athletes is intertwined with the experiences of their coaches and teachers, emphasizing the interconnected nature of mental health across academic and athletic domain.

What is the most dangerous college sport that you may want to seek therapy for?

One of the sports often considered high-risk for physical and mental health is collegiate football. The intensity and physicality of football, coupled with the inherent risk of injuries, make it a demanding and potentially dangerous sport. According to the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program, football consistently reports one of the highest rates of injuries among college athletes, with concussions being a particularly prevalent concern. The toll of repeated concussions has been linked to long-term neurological effects and mental health challenges. Additionally, the competitive nature and high expectations associated with football can contribute to stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues among players. Considering these factors, athletes involved in collegiate football may find therapy essential for addressing both the physical and psychological impacts of their participation in this challenging sport. A lot of people recommend Open Arms Wellness if you are looking to find therapy, as a college athlete, or want to find therapy in general.


Our most frequently asked questions about college athletes and therapy at Open Arms Wellness, located in St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri:

Q: Can therapy at Open Arms Wellness, located in Saint Louis and Columbia, Missouri, help athletes deal with performance-related stress?

A: Absolutely. Therapy and counseling at Open Arms Wellness can equip athletes with coping mechanisms, mental strategies, and tools to handle the pressure and stress associated with competition.


Q: How can therapy at Open Arms Wellness improve sports performance?

A: World renowned athletes like Michael Phelps have been outspoken about the impact of therapy on their sports performance. “Therapy saved my life,” he admits. Afterwards, he continues to see a therapist because he saw how much “it helped me feel comfortable in my own skin, to be my own authentic self. -Michael Phelps


Q: Are therapy sessions confidential for college athletes?

A: Yes, therapy sessions are confidential, and the privacy of the athlete is protected.


Q: How do colleges ensure that athletes feel comfortable seeking therapy?

A: Colleges create an environment that de-stigmatizes mental health, provides education about the benefits of therapy, and emphasizes the confidential nature of these services.


Q: Are there specialized therapists for college athletes?

A: Open Arms Wellness has therapists with expertise in sports psychology or experience working specifically with athletes.


Q: How often can college athletes attend therapy sessions?

A: The frequency of therapy sessions varies, but athletes usually have access to regular appointments based on their needs and schedules.


Q: Can therapy at Open Arms Wellness address issues related to the transition from college sports to professional life?

A: Yes, therapy at Open Arms Wellness can assist athletes in navigating the challenges associated with transitioning out of their collegiate sports career.


Q: Do coaches support the involvement of athletes in therapy?

A: Many coaches recognize the importance of mental health and actively encourage athletes to participate in therapy as part of their overall


Q: Is therapy only for athletes facing mental health crises, or can it be preventive?

A: Therapy is beneficial for both crisis intervention and preventive measures, helping athletes develop resilience and maintain mental wellness proactively.


Q: How can athletes access therapy services at Open Arms Wellness, Columbia in Saint Louis?

A: College athletes can find a therapist at Open Arms Wellness, Columbia in Saint Louis by calling our intake staff at 314-329-4326, they will be welcoming and happy to find you a therapist that suits your needs.


Q: What are some techniques including sports psychology?

A: Specifically, imagery, goal setting, and relaxation are the most common interventions adopted by practitioners and athletes to enhance performance. It is
also true that athletes face unique physiological and psychological stressors daily.


Overall, therapy for college athletes is one of the main, and recommended resources to enhance mental well-being and improve overall sport performance
of college athletes.



Schedule an Appointment