Involvement in sports can have a very positive effect on the mental health of high school students. However, mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and others, occur in athletes just like they do in everyone else. Mental illness may not be detected in athletes as easily as in others, though. This is for a number of reasons, including:
- Athletes may have a tendency to deny signs of “weakness”.
- Athletes may be afraid of not being allowed to play.
Athlete behaviors may resemble symptoms of mental illness, but can be chalked up to being a normal part of being a good athlete. This might include careful attention to diet, which may actually be part of an eating disorder.
Mental Health in Elite Athletes: International Olympic Committee consensus statement