Stress Takes Its Toll on Student Athletes

During the fall ’23 and spring ’24 semesters, 15.9% of all the counseling appointments at Neumann University were held with varsity student-athletes. 

Stress. Everyone feels it. For student-athletes, stress is common. The expectations of a team and being a student can pile up. The hours of practice, travelling and games and then still having homework to do at the same time. 

In most counseling center appointments, the central problem was anxiety. The anxiety comes from expectations.  

For student-athletes, anxiety often stems stem from a student trying to find success on a sports field while trying to maintain high grades; meeting time demands for both school and sports; managing relationships; and outside life events. 

Zion Spearman, a senior for the men’s baseball team, says the biggest problem for him is time management. He says the last time he felt stressed was just two weeks ago, trying to find time for his senior capstone project between games. Being a student-athlete fatigues Spearman. 

“My energy level goes way down,” he said.  

This isn’t just an issue seen at Neumann University, but an issue seen at all colleges across the country, in all divisions. According to the NCAA, about 30% of the 195,000 respondents to an American College Health Association survey stated they had felt depressed in the last 12 months, and 50% stated they were met with an overwhelming anxiety during the same period. 

Along with depression, feelings of loneliness, anxiety and insomnia can also be effects of heavy stress.  

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. Short stints of stress can bring immune activation and help a person become more focused on the task at hand.  

However, Bonnie Yake, the Assistant Dean of Student-Counseling, Health, and Well-Being, explains that “If stress is impacting one’s physical or mental health negatively, it is recommended that students, both athletes and non-athletes, seek relief through physical exercise, connecting with others (including a counselor), participating in creative outlets and by practicing mindfulness.” 

Treating stress and its effects can be a tall task. Student-athletes are less likely to seek help for their struggles, according to the NCAA. 

Counselling services here at Neumann University are available to all undergraduate students.  

“Counseling can help a client gain insight into what is causing their feelings of stress, anxiety or being overwhelmed and then work together to create strategies to balance their stress using healthy coping skills,” says Yake.  

If you feel that counselling can help you, you can arrange an appointment at