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Fear in sports; from injury to expectations

Art by Lauren Acevedo

Sports are an activity that many people participate in, whether it be inside or outside of school. While they are something that most find enjoyable, they can also cause stress due to the multiple competitions and games, as well as the fear of getting injured or not winning said competitions.

Many sports can affect one’s mental health as well as their physical health. I participate in the sport of diving, and it is almost always difficult for me to even get up onto the board when doing a new dive. My teammates often spend multiple minutes standing on the board or platform, unable to bring themselves to dive for no reason other than an underlying fear of what they are about to do. There is always a fear of messing up the dive, also known as smacking, or landing incorrectly on the water. Because of this, I am often filled with stress and fear on days leading up to new dives.

Competitions can also have a big effect on athletes’ mental health. In addition to stress building up in the days leading up to the event, there is also the thought that there will almost always be someone who is better than you. Although this can help you to push yourself harder and do better, knowing this can also convince athletes that they can’t win, therefore making them unwilling to try their hardest.

All people who play sports have a chance to injure themselves. Even though recovering from injuries is necessary for safety, they are definitely capable of causing stress at times outside of practice. According to the National Library of Medicine, “A sports injury causes pain and physical impairments and also psychological impact. A common psychological response to injury is fear of re-injury.” Because of this fear, “elevated psychological responses to the injury can slow rehabilitation progress and delay return to sports.” Essentially, injured athletes can be scared of getting reinjured, and therefore don’t continue with sports for some time.

Image credit to Ben White on Unsplash

A big part of school is sports, and ERHS has lots of them. Ranging from basketball to tennis, you can often see different sports teams practicing throughout the week. Many students at ERHS participate in athletic activities. Another view, according to Geena San Diego; “In my opinion, athletes aren’t afraid of injury, but rather not meeting the expectations put on them.” This makes a lot of sense, with most spectators assuming that athletes will always perform to the best of their ability. These expectations can cause stress of disappointing the people watching. Also, as stated by Aiden Dorsey Carro, anyone participating in sports can receive stress from “training all the time.”

Overall, sports can cause a lot of anxiety to their participants. From being scared of returning to play, to the stress of not being able to meet high expectations, people can be greatly affected by their extracurricular activities. Although sports can often be stressful, they can also be extremely exciting and fun, along with the added bonus of being great for physical health.

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