How does anxiety affect student athletes?

Why Does Anxiety Increase in Student Athletes?

From the outside looking in, a student athlete is usually perceived as outgoing, special, and popular by their counterparts, non-athlete collegiate students. In addition to these wonderful traits, student athletes are seen playing their sports on television, their names are seen in the newspaper, and they are rewarded with tuition, room and board, and tuition a lot of times. Student athletes are seen around campus as role models and are held to higher standards by everyone involved in their lives.


Basically on the outside it seems that student athletes live the perfect life. Unfortunately, that is extremely far from the truth. Student athletes are considered twice the student as regular students. They have to perform on a daily basis to the best of their ability in the classroom as well as in the perspective sports. If student athletes who are on scholarship do not perform well in athletics or academics, then they could potentially lose their scholarship by not having it renewed from year to year. The majority of the time if a student athlete loses their scholarship then they will have to drop out of the school they are attending because they will not be able to afford tuition.

The amount of pressure that is places on student athletes can cause stress, anxiety, and depression that can all hinder the development of a solid student athlete. The transition from high school where many athletes were the star at their school to college where everyone is just as good as they are can be a very challenging experience. From the pressures of amount of playing time to injuries and other issues with college athletics many young athletes struggle immensely with this transition. Not only do student athletes have to transition from high school to college athletics but they also have to adjust to the academic and other demands of college life.  The classes become much more challenging, time management is now an essential part of life, and many student athletes have to adjust to living in a new city with new people.

All of the pressure and changes that all student athletes face when entering college can cause severe stress, anxiety, and depression. Some of the  symptoms of this athlete anxiety are as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Lack of sleep
  • Feeling tired or fatigued all the time
  • Fear of failure
  • Excessive worry
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdraw from family and friends
  • Frequent use of alcohol, drugs, and smoking
  • Late night partying
  • Increased sexual activity
  • Criminal trouble
  • Missing class and practice
  • Arguing with professors, coaches, teammates, and roommates

*** If these problems are not treated as soon as possible they can result in the student athlete dropping out of school, being kicked out of school, or even committing suicide.


“Don’t Let Feeling S.A.D., That Is Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Distract You From Your Student-Athlete Development.” Stress, Anxiety, and Depression. Web. 30 Nov. 2010. <>.

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