The student news site of Aspen High School


The student news site of Aspen High School


The student news site of Aspen High School


The Challenge of Student-Athlete Burnout

Sara Michelin
Quintessa Frisch and Elsa Tullar burnt out after doing layout for the Skier Scribbler’s October issue.

At AHS, many student-athletes participate in multiple athletic seasons. Our community holds athletes to high standards and as winter sports are in session, student-athletes are faced with various challenges. From shorter, colder, winter days, to semester-one finals, it can be overwhelming, even for a student who doesn’t participate in school sports. This overwhelming feeling can lead to burnout, which is a mental condition that can cause mental and physical fatigue brought on by extended or recurring stress. Even while issues at work, school, or sports are the main source, it can also arise in other spheres of life, such as caring for oneself, parenting, or love relationships.

Some student-athletes get burnt out at an early age because they see that the sport they participate in isn’t productive anymore. Sometimes an athlete becomes burnt-out and overwhelmed by being placed in a situation that tests their time management as well as their physical ability. The International Baccalaureate (IB) program at AHS can be hard for students to balance their school work while also training. Even something as simple as not having enough time to recover and rest can make athletes feel like they’re being held back from their best performance level in their sport. All of these components work together to create a burnt out student-athlete.

It is not always outside factors that contribute to burnout in athletes. It can be a battle within themselves. Some experience pressure on themselves and their mind. The athletes can feel they have a “reputation” that if they are not consistently working and succeeding, then they are not the best athletes they can be. Sometimes, this mindset is formed at a young age, when athletes don’t feel like their training isn’t productive anymore.

The signs and symptoms of burnout can vary based on the individual. Some can see a plateau in performance, a decrease in strength and endurance, and also experience extreme exhaustion. Athletes can have cognitive issues, difficulty in concentrating or diminishing work in school, and forgetfulness. Emotional issues such as disinterest, moodiness, and irritability are also symptoms of burnout. As a result of falling short of sports demands, athletes can experience low self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression.

Time away to rest from their sport is another method of preventing burnout in student athletes. Being away from the demands of their sport, even for a short period several times a year, provides an athlete with an opportunity to accomplish their schoolwork and relationships that are necessary to have a more rounded life that leads to enhanced motivation once they return to their sport.

Student-athletes who are trying to balance school work and sports often don’t get enough sleep to feel rested and ready for physical and mental activity throughout the day. According to Children’s Hospital Colorado, nine to ten hours of sleep is recommended for student athletes. Considering that many athletes rise before or at dawn for practice, their sleep cycle is not fully effective in providing the rest necessary for the best school and sports performance. This results in a state of constant fatigue, placing the athlete at risk for developing burnout and mental health issues.

It is important to educate teachers about the symptoms of burnout so they can help in identifying and preventing burnout in athletes by communicating with coaches and strength staff to monitor the athletes for overtraining, which is a large contributor to burnout.

Burnout is a very real and underreported mental state that many student-athletes experience. Having an understanding of how burnout occurs, along with knowing the signs and symptoms are important steps in the prevention and treatment of this kind of situation. It may prevent the start or worsening of a mental health disorder in an athlete. Please reach out when you are feeling burnt out or overwhelmed. AHS has resources, like the Hope Squad, who can refer you to professional help when it is necessary.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sara Michelin, Staff Writer
This is Sara's second year writing for The Skier Scribbler. She enjoys the people she gets to work with while writing for the paper. Sara is also a competitive swimmer on both the high school and club teams. Also, Sara has a twenty-pound cat named Gummybear.

Comments (0)

All THE SKIER SCRIBBLER Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *