Stop. Look around you. How many people in your immediate vicinity are looking at some sort of screen? Most of them? All? Now think of the last time you went out to eat. When did it become normal to see people sitting on their phones at the table and not interacting with the person sitting to their side or across from them?
In April 2018, the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Flames hosted the 2017-2018 men’s collegiate gymnastics championships. 16 teams were in attendance. Four months later, on August 31st, 2018, The UIC men and women's gymnastics teams were informed that due to the cost of sports “rapidly rising with no sign of slowing down” their programs are to be dropped at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season. Garrett Klassy, the UIC Athletic Director, assured the University that “...this was a move toward progress that needed to be taken.”. This decision will affect 11 women and 25 men from the university who will still have NCAA eligibility. The effect it has on the sport of gymnastics, specifically for men, is much greater.
If you peel back the curtain on any team, school or organization you can probably find a little of all the above. However, what is mainly reflected back to the athletes? How do they perceive their value to you and who and what they mean to the organization?
During the PAADS Athlete Development Summit in Daytona Beach last week, an open forum conversation on the topic of mental health and wellness in elite athletics provided some context for those having difficulty determining where mental wellness ends and mental health begins.