Stress for High School Student Athletes

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Stress in high school student athletes is the subject of our featured segment, presented by Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Stress… it’s something we’ve all had. Like cranberry juice. Most people don’t love it, some people need it… and its a lot better while riding a skateboard listening to Fleetwood Mac. Okay, maybe it’s not the perfect example… but enjoy the Tik Tok reference Gen Z.

Today, we’re talking about the stress that high schoolers have and why it’s important to take note of. And we don’t have even remotely enough time to dive in to the effects COVID-19 has had… but even before the pandemic, this was a major issue.

For some time, the notion that adolescent stress is invalid comparatively speaking to adult stress has been shifting. Studies in the last ten years have definitively shown not only are they strikingly similar, but it’s often misunderstood at a younger age.

I mean, just try and remember that time you walked into class and found out a paper was due… the paper that was assigned a month ago. You know, the one that’s 50% of your grade and had to be 10 pages long? Yeah… I too had my dog-accidently hit control-alt-delete, close Microsoft Word without saving and deleted my paper. Silly Remmi…

In 2014 an American Psychological Association survey showed that high school students were rating their stress at the same level as adults (a 5.8 on a scale from 1-10). Even scarier is the fact that they severely downplayed the effects – 54% of teens said it had no impact on their physical health and 52% said it didn’t alter their mental health.

Of course, some reasons for this are obvious, but they are also complicated. We’ve already touched on the importance of student involvement in extracurriculars on this show… but the solution to one problem is often the root of another.

Sports, in particular, most often occur right after school. And while involvement has been shown to increase feelings of peer and adult support, it also pushes academic responsibilities later into the evening. And according to an NYU study, it’s that homework that is stressing students out.

Grades, homework, getting into college – all great motivators – all serious stressors.

Unfortunately there is no one solution.

But one thing is crystal clear. High school stress isn’t less than… it’s equal to, or in some instances worse than adult stress. And just simply recognizing that may help control-alt-delete some of that stress away.

For more prep sports content, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page.