≡ Menu

Latest News

Athlete Burnout: The Mental Health Side of Sports

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Not all athletes who prematurely end their careers claim an injury. Many athletes who take an early retirement cite “burnout” and other motivations associated with mental health. Unfortunately, coaches, trainers and healthcare professionals sometimes prioritize the physical aspect of health, neglecting the mental aspect, which is every bit as important.

A new infographic from National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) helps us develop a better understanding of athlete burnout and mental health…

Mental Health Signs & Symptoms

    • Problems with concentration, memory or ability to think clearly
    • Changes in eating (overeating or loss of appetite)
    • Unable to complete tasks
    • Feeling overly worried
    • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless or worthless
    • Sensitivity to sound, sight, smell and touch
    • Irritability or restlessness
    • Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
    • Withdrawn or disconnected from others
    • Feeling like your brain is playing tricks on you (hearing knocking, scratching, name being called)
    • Changes in energy level and sleep patterns (sleeping during the day and awake at night)

Urgent Signs & Symptoms

    • Thoughts or plans of killing or hurting yourself or others
    • Hearing voices or seeing things that no one else can see or hear
    • Unexplained changes in thinking, speech or writing
    • Being overly suspicious or fearful
    • Serious drop in school or work performance
    • Sudden personality changes that are bizarre or out of character

Athlete Burnout – Signs & Symptoms

Athlete burnout is a syndrome of continual training and sport attention stress. Many athletes who experience burnout report feeling trapped by circumstances of sports participation. Burnout symptoms may include:

    • Leveling off or diminished performance or conditioning, including strength and stamina losses and chronic fatigue
    • Physiological signs such as having a higher resting heart rate and blood pressure
    • Cognitive issues such as difficulty in concentration, diminished work in school or forgetfulness
    • Illnesses as a result of suppressed immune system
    • Emotional issues such as disinterest, moodiness and irritability
    • Low self-esteem, increased anxiety and depression as a result of falling short of sport demands

If you are experiencing these symptoms, take some rest and time away from sports. Consider seeing your primary care physician or a sports medicine doctor for help.

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

For other Houston sports medicine needs, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.