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For many student athletes, the pandemic has caused a mental strain

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Posted at 7:54 AM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 09:54:56-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — For athletes at every level, COVID-19 has disrupted their routines and training for months.

Since the pandemic began, high school athletes in particular have been robbed, not only of their sport and their school experience, but also of adolescent rites of passage like proms, awards banquets, and possibly graduation. This is also causing an obvious strain on their mental health.

According to an NCAA survey, one out of every twelve athletes felt so depressed it is hard for them to function day to day.

News5 spoke to U.S. Olympic Gold Medal swimmer, Carrie Bates, who has been very open about her own issues with mental illness and addiction. Bates says, student athletes in high school and college, often become identified by what they do instead of who they are.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for us to focus on the other attributes of these gifted athletes," Bates explained. "They are probably gifted academically, and they are probably gifted socially. These athletes are lovely and wonderful people and we need to focus on those things, as well as their ability on the field."

Bates, who now works for Hazelden Betty Ford, a drug addiction treatment facility, says parents should incorporate activities at home that will help student athletes realize the other qualities they have. She also recommends getting help now if you're a student athlete suffering from depression. When you're happy, and healthy on the inside and out, you perform better, on and off the field or court.