Mental Health Awareness Week: My Why, The Athlete

October 7, 2018 0 By admin

October 7th through the 13th is Mental Health Awareness Week. For my first awareness week running my blog, I decided to do a small series and post one thing a day related to mental health and getting to know me a little bit better. Today’s post? My why, my brother, the athlete.

my brother & my why, the athlete
My brother, the natural athlete of the family

In counseling, there is always a why. Therapists have a why. It’s the thing that keeps us going when we start to burn out and clients seem to stall on making progress. My why used to be because I just wanted to help people. I didn’t have any family members who were affected by mental illness that made me want to do something and didn’t have any profound moments that spoke to me. Until my senior year of high school.

Sports are my family’s lifeblood

My family is big on sports. Well, football mostly. My father was an athlete and played football in high school and my brother played football from Midgets all the way through high school. We watch football during the season like we’re from Texas and it’s our job. The pride I have for my brother and his football career is not something I hide. He was amazing, one of those people with natural talent. He played some of the most key positions on both sides of the field getting touchdowns and sacks. Near the end of his career, he tore his hamstring and was out almost the entire season. His behavior changed dramatically. He became depressed and easily agitated. He felt like he was letting his team down being a captain and not being able to play.

my brother the athlete during his football career

He is my why. My sole reason and inspiration for my career path of working with athletes and love of sports, whether he knows it or not.  I don’t want any other family or person going through what he and my family did when he was injured. 

What’s so special about athletes?

Athletes are one the most under helped populations in regards to mental health. Sports counselors are slowly on the rise, but it is still a fairly new area. Many professional teams from all sports have counselors permanently employed for them such as the Indianapolis Colts, The New York Yankees, and the Chicago Blackhawks.  My dream job is to be a sports counselor to help athletes deal with their mental illnesses during their career, help the entire team with their performance during games, and help them find a new purpose and jobs once they retire or can no longer play for other reasons.