After winning the NBA World Championship in June 2010, Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest gave a shout-out to his psychiatrist, Santhi Periasamy.
Artest, who legally changed his name in September to Metta World Peace, helped break the silence surrounding mental health in sports. Although sports teams consistently host a team of doctors to ensure that their players are physically healthy, psychologists and psychiatrists are often hired ad-hoc, if at all. Provisions have been made to recognize mental health illnesses within sports, but many mental health professionals are still seen as separate experts from other team doctors. They often stay at different hotels from the athletes they treat so players can avoid the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Six popular athletes worldwide committed suicide within six months of each other. While unrelated, these numbers are extraordinary for any field, and they draw attention to the state of mental health when it comes to extreme athleticism.
“These cases remind you that no one is immune; that a sound body does not mean a Teflon mind,” Antonia L. Baum, vice president of the International Society for Sports Psychiatry, told Sports Illustrated magazine. “And that when it comes to the stigma around psychiatric illness, the athletic arena remains one of its biggest fortresses.”
Want to know how to help? Attend one of these workshops in your area, designed to help BOC Certified Athletic Trainers identify and understand the psychological impact and common clinical concerns that may occur in the process of sustaining and rehabilitating from an athletic injury.
October 29, 2011
Residence Inn Charlotte
6030 Piedmont Row
Charlotte, NC 28210 (704) 554-7001