Osaka Withdraws From French Open and Steps on Sport's Third Rail
By admin - June 2, 2021

When it comes to injuries, there’s physical proof that athletes can point to and even give an estimate of when they’ll be back. However, mental health is still a bit of a taboo subject. Here are the highlights: 

  • Naomi Osaka was the first athlete to walk away from a major tournament with a physical injury, which has caused uproar not only in the sports world but social media.
  • While Olympian Michael Phelps vaguely mentioned mental-health issues and Jerry West wrote about his struggles way past his playing days, this is something a bit different because you have a tennis star in her prime speaking on her anxiety.
  • Dr. Wendy Borlabi, a psychologist based in Chicago who works with professional, high school, and college athletes, says that with an injury like an ACL tear it’s 6-8 months until an athlete is back on the field. However, mental health is something that’s ongoing. 
  • Everyone is different because there’s not a one-size-fits-all thing when it comes to someone’s mental health. However, the more it’s out in the open, the better it is to help other people. 
  • There’s sort of a Catch 22 when it comes to athletes because they have the fame, they’re more visible. However, when it comes to a taboo subject like speaking out on things like depression and anxiety, it’s a chance they’ll get ridiculed because the common person will say “it comes with the territory.” 
  • Dr. Ross, a psychologist based out of San Diego who works with college, professional, and Olympic athletes, says that athletes are put on a pedestal because of their above-average talent. However, they are still humans first before the accolades. 
  • In Osaka’s situation, a lot of her contemporaries defended the requirement that players engage with the media for the overall growth of the game. However, there are many that still dislike this dynamic. 
  • However, this may be the spark needed to get more athletes to speak candidly on the subject of mental health.