A student-athlete’s life is difficult enough when you only look at the athletic side of the equation. They have to contend with early morning practices as well as evening practices that can stretch late into the night, demanding coaches, grueling exercise regimens and nutrition plans, and so much more. However, these aren’t the only problems that a student-athlete has to face, and the issues they run into off the field can have far-reaching consequences for their athletic careers and their lives even after they hang up their cleats. Take a look at some of the most common and most pressing problems facing student-athletes.
Student-athletes don’t go to college to play football or baseball: They go to get an education and play those sports in their spare time. Unfortunately, many student-athletes don’t devote as much attention to their academic commitments as their athletic ones, and even the athletes who do recognize these responsibilities can run into problems in the classroom. This presents a huge problem because, contrary to what they might believe, fewer than 10% of student-athletes go pro on average—for example, only 1.1% of NCAA football players ever make it to the NFL—so getting a good college education is vital. Therefore, student athletes need to make their education more of a priority.
It’s easy to look at student-athletes and think of them as superhuman, but in reality, they’re still just teenagers and young adults. That means despite how easy and lucky their lives might seem to the outside world, they could be trying to cope with severe stress or mental health issues like depression. In addition, research has suggested that student-athletes may face a higher risk for conditions such as substance abuse of alcohol or drugs, eating disorders, social or performance anxiety, depression, and others. Furthermore, since many student-athletes feel a constant need to project strength and confidence, they may be less inclined to and seek help. It’s critical that a student-athletes’ coaches, professors, family, and friends check in with them to make sure that they’re getting the support that they need to properly deal with their stress and mental health.
No Free Time
Part of the reason why student-athletes may have trouble in the classroom or may feel stressed can stem from the fact that they have such little time. College is a difficult time for young adults, but when you add athletics into the mix, they may be looking at days that stretch for more than 12 hours with little or no down time. That means that the athletes may have to force themselves to stay up late to do homework or other tasks, which cuts into the night hours and deprives them of the time that they should be using to rest. Responsible time management is an important skill to learn in college, and it’s essential that student-athletes master it as soon as possible.