Michigan Pioneering Mental Health Treatment for Student-Athletes

By February 2, 2015 No Comments

By John Blanchard

There was a great article in the Huffington Post yesterday that talked about the University of Michigan bringing mental health care to its student-athletes. The story starts off with an excellent anecdotal story about Will Heininger, a sport management major and member of the Wolverine football team.

It talks about Will’s battle with depression, something that many college students his age deal with. Will would go on to graduate and help found a program called Athletes Connected, which now helps current student-athletes at Michigan that are battling depression and other mental health issues. In the article Will stated, “My life went from 100 to zero, and then to better than ever after getting help and understanding what depression is and how common it its.”

This idea of mental health support is another way that Michigan is showing that it is progressive and truly focusing on comprehensive student-athlete development. We are proud to work with Michigan student-athletes in our own capacity at GTG, creating career opportunities to connect athletes to post-graduate life.

The video attached to the article focuses on a former Michigan swimmer who suffered from bulimia, an eating disorder. She talks about how helpful her sports counselor was helping her with coping strategies. Her coach sounds outstanding as she said in approaching him she “was met with overwhelming support and guidance . For him, asking for help wasn’t a weakness, it was a strength.”

She also makes a statement right after talking about her coach “I am still learning how to find my identity outside of my sport.”

That is a common predicament for many of the athletes we work with. . hey have primarily focused on their lives as an athlete for more than a decade of their young lives.. Their athletic identity becomes too much of who they are.For many, there is a major void created when collegiate athletics end and there is no continuation of their competitive athletic lives.

Game Theory Group is excited about our new Student-Athlete Transition Assessment. The only instrument of its kind, our assessment helps senior student-athletes identify those areas of their lives that they will most need to be aware of in post-student-athlete’s life and their transition into the working world. We have identified eight “buckets”, if you will, that distinguish the life of a student-athlete: Identity, Support, Structure, Stewardship, Camadarie, Status, Competition, and Feedback. High scores in any of these areas trigger feedback that will help the student-athlete address the void in that particular area of life that will be missing with the absence of their sport in a competitive setting.

For more information on how to utilize our Student-Athlete Transition Assessment for your student-athletes, please contact us.