“Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Whether death is from heart arrhythmias or suicide, we need to pay attention when soccer players struggle with food,” states Boston-area sports nutritionist Nancy Clark MS RD, in a new article titled Soccer Players: Eating Disorders.
This prevailing topic that is occurring throughout college soccer is not spoken enough about with these individuals who are most susceptible to developing an eating disorder. Typically, collegiate student-athletes are rigidly organized, and portray a champion mindset and competitive personality. These extreme qualities parallel the personality traits associated with the development of eating disorders. Performance is the utmost objective for players, and, unfortunately, many ultimately compromise their health to reach their standard of excellence.
For most, being on an athletic scholarship and playing at the highest level is a true honor. However, with this title comes immense expectations. Student-athletes are expected to not only perform and produce on their designated team, but also achieve notable grades in the classroom. Attempting to balance one’s academics and sports while striving to achieve the highest results can become quite demanding and overwhelming for any individual. When student-athletes are not in the classroom or on the field for practice or competition, they are typically in their academic student center completing study hall hours or receiving a private tutor to assure classroom proficiency. Though being a student-athlete comes with many benefits, much reward, and exceptional opportunities, the pressure to perform in all facets of college life can lead to much anxiety and overall stress.
Anxiety, depression, and stress are all prerequisite feelings that can result in an eating disorder. Eating disorders are simply a distraction to an athlete from his/her feelings or emotional state. Therefore, many athletes are susceptible to this issue, since the majority of students in this environment are exposed to such emotions. My wish is to educate and help student-athletes avoid, overcome, or even just become aware of this prevailing issue.