How far are you willing to go to be the best? What will you sacrifice to get ahead of the competition? Is there a limit to how much an athlete should endure to achieve success?
In my classes we’ve been looking at exercise disorders, addiction, and depression. It’s scientifically proven that exercise can resolve, and improve the effects of depression. Health professionals are starting to prescribe daily physical activity to patients who are suffering from depression. Having said that, they’ve also seen these same patients become addicted to exercise. How do we know where to draw the line of how much is too much? If you hear a marathon runner say they ran 15 miles over the weekend, most of us wouldn’t think twice about what we’ve heard. But, what if an everyday person said they ran 15 miles over the weekend? Researchers are starting to discover that exercise addiction is common within athletes, however, their addiction simply looks like training, not an unhealthy disorder. They are able to hide out in the sports world, and mask their addiction.In the arena of wrestling, dance, and gymnastics, it’s common for athletes to endure eating disorders in order to meet the requirements of competition. We’ve also seen countless professional athletes abuse steroids to be the best.
I was watching ESPN the other night, and it was highlighting stories of college athletes who had overcome incredible hardships in their journey to the top of the athletic pyramid. One of the stories focused on an extremely talented UCLA football player. This boy walked through high school at the top of his game, and was going to UCLA on an athletic scholarship. Throughout his career he had suffered many concussions. In the second year of his career at UCLA , he suffered yet again, another concussion. However; this time, the injury started to affect his every day life. He was experiencing extreme sensitivity to light, and sound, horrible headaches, and dizzy spells. Although he was an NFL hopeful, he decided to walk away from his dream, and quit playing football. He was quoted saying, “I love football and it was my only dream to be an NFL football player, but football wasn’t helping me, it was hindering my ability to live my life. It came to a point where football was hurting me, not enhancing my life.”
I can’t even imagine how much strength it took that player to walk away from a sports dream that was clearly attainable. Our society puts so much emphasis on winning, it must have been so hard to look the other way, and put his health first. This young man is a great example to all athletes out there. There is a point where enough is enough.
What we do as athletes shouldn’t endanger our health. Make sure, as a coach, what you’re preaching to your athletes benefits the players athletic ability and overall health. As a player, make sure you aren’t sacrificing you’re health to excel in sports. It’s a fine line we walk as competitive athletes, keep your perspective straight, this is the only body we get.
Quote of the day:
“What’s above the shoulders is more important than whats below” – Ty Cobb
Read the full story of UCLA’s linebacker here: