WHEN ANXIETY HITS

Bailey Andrews remembers suffering a panic attack right before one of her first collegiate rugby
games.

“I didn’t know what to do, I was just freaking out for no reason. I felt suffocated cause I had
everything on me. I just had to like take it all off and I stood there shaking.”

Over the past three years, Andrews has learned how to deal with her anxiety attacks. Still, she
experiences anxiety issues, but like many other student athletes, she’s starting to talk about
them. That doesn’t make managing homework, practice, training and her social life any easier.
Deidra Jones, captain of the volleyball team at STU, realized she suffered from depression and
anxiety problems in her first year of university. Since then, she has found ways to cope. She
schedules ahead, keeps busy, and has a good support system.

“It’s hard, sometimes I struggle, and the girls can probably tell when I struggle, but that’s okay.
At least they know I’m human.”

Even so, Jones has days when she’s unable to keep her focus on the game. It could be a
distraction from the crowd; it could be an overwhelming workload, a recurring thought or a test
coming up.

“Sometimes you need a minute, but in a game you don’t get a minute.”

Despite it all, Andrews and Jones say they’ve never thought about quitting athletics.

“I really enjoy the student athlete life. It is something I have done since forever,” Andrew says.

“I just think that people don’t always understand the full story.”

Student athletes are bound to experience more pressure and anxiety than the average student.
They are often held to higher standards. Good news: They have a strong support system to lean
on when times get tough.

“It creates bonds on a different level, on and off the field,” said the third-year fly-half. “I know if
something goes wrong the girls always have my back.”

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