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Medical and Mental Health Information

Author: BC Winter Games/Monday, October 16, 2017/Categories: Front Page, 2018 BC Winter Games

Medical and Mental Health Information

BC Winter Games medical volunteers are responsible for the treatment of all Games participants and will be at sport venues during scheduled competition and training times. What is unique at these Games, however, is that the Medical Team has taken a keen interest in mental health and has put a program together to cover what is considered above and beyond the usual bumps, bruises and breaks.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical, emotional and spiritual health. Often when people consider depression and anxiety, the common symptoms which come to mind include low mood, crying, helplessness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activity, weight changes, loss of energy and sleep changes. 

However, there are many overlooked signs and symptoms that often present differently, especially amongst student-athletes. These include:

physical pain, backache, headache, sleeping problems- which are medically treatment resistant;
Anger, irritability, sensitivity to criticism, loss of sense of humour, road rage, violence and controlling behaviour, drinking and drug use. 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), considers sports environments an increased risk for student-athletes to develop eating disorders and defines eating disorders as “not simply disorders of eating, but rather conditions characterized by a persistent disturbance of eating or an eating-related behavior that significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning”.

What does this mean? It means that eating disorders are not the stereotypical complete end to eating. Rather, eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. And for athletes these types of eating disorders can occur, not only because an athlete may view themselves as overweight, but because they feel that they must fit the ideal body image which is dictated by their sport.

It’s no surprise that the title student-athlete brings with it a specialized and unique meaning because it means that not only are you responsible to manage your academics and social life as a teenager, but you are also expected to excel and compete in sport. Such increased stressors and responsibility come with unique risks that student-athletes are at particular risk for such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

This increased risk is due to the unique combination of stressors experienced by student-athletes including the high expectations to excel academically, to commit to long hours of training, to be healthy for peak performance and to maintain social lives away from sport. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please call the medical clinic (250- 314-5000 or 250-828-3823 after hours) which will have doctors, a mental health nurse and therapy dogs available for you.

 

Featured photo: (From left) Sherri Morrish, Dr. Todd Ring, and Kelsey Landsburg are among the medical team that will provide care for the athletes at the BC Winter Games.

Read more about the important plans for Medical and Metal Health Care at the BC Winter Games here.

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