14 Nov Full time athlete stress ‘equivalent to that of nurses’
A report published by a group of the UK’s leading sports institutions has compared the stress encountered by sportspeople with that of ‘nurses and other mid-grade professionals’.
‘Obviously we should be careful not to generalise’ said Professor Jake Nutting, one of the paper’s lead authors ‘but it does seem that athletes are up to their eyes in stress. Society tends to be dismissive of the mental strain required to be a top runner, but this research shows just how tough it can be’.
The Professor continued: ‘We can’t put a value on the toll that worrying about getting 12 hours sleep a night, coupled with training twice a day and making sure you are eating enough, all the while wondering whether your parents are going to continue to fund your life and whether literally running around in circles is fulfilling. Throw in the day-to-day stress of ice baths being out of use, a children’s birthday party booking out the track or whether you can really afford the new Grand Theft Auto game and suddenly life can all get a bit much. When you compare that to the relatively stable lifestyle and income of a nurse or a teacher for example, there really is no comparison’.
The report concluded that more support structures should be put in place to support the nation’s young sporting talent. ‘Perhaps giving ready access to counseling and lifestyle advisers would be a start’ said another senior researcher ‘our main concern is the cumulative effect of this stressful existence. It is about time we all woke up and realised the very real issues facing the stars of tomorrow’.