University of Kentucky counselor talks mental health in sports

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The dominate headline out of the Tokyo Olympics isn’t what superstar gymnast Simone Biles is doing in the games, but what she isn’t doing – which is competing, citing her mental health.

Similar headlines were seen earlier this year when one of the world’s best tennis players, Naomi Osaka, pulled out of the French Open and Wimbledon – citing social anxiety, media pressure and long bouts of depression.

In both instances, there has been widespread support for the athletes, but also some criticism.

Mary Chandler Bolin, University of Kentucky’s Counseling Center director, said she can only imagine the pressure athletes are under, and it takes courage to walk away.

“People are going to have days that they need to perhaps do what’s best for them, and not what meets the expectations of others,” Bolin said.

She encourages athletes to connect with a mental health professional who understands mental and physical health go hand-in-hand.

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