LATROBE, Pa. – Saint Vincent hosted the very first inaugural Presidents’ Athletic Convention (PAC) Scholar Athlete Psychological Well being and Wellbeing Summit on the Fred Rogers Institute this previous weekend.
This occasion requested at the least one feminine and male scholar athlete presence from every PAC faculty to signify their establishment. Every scholar attendee supplied the convention with their private story behind being a collegiate scholar athlete and balancing their teachers with the state of their psychological well being. Coaches, trainers, and directors from throughout the convention additionally performed an evident function in being current on the summit to study from the coed athletes current.
Representing Westminster on the workers aspect was Assistant Athletic Director and Head Girls’s Volleyball Coach Tammy Swearingen, Head Males’s and Girls’s Soccer Coach Girish Thakar, and Affiliate Athletic Coach Misty Motter. Westminster’s student-athlete representatives included me, Sabrina Slagle (Girls’s Tennis), and junior Morgan Byers (Girls’s Golf).
As the present President of the Scholar Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at Westminster, I used to be thrilled once I volunteered to signify our school at this convention. Byers and I’ve been working intently with Kristin Consuegra since becoming a member of the Presidents’ Athletic Convention SAAC management workforce final semester. Byers is serving because the Service Coordinator, and I’m serving because the Social Media Coordinator throughout the 2022-23 tutorial 12 months. We each had the pleasure of attending the convention collectively, and it’s protected to say we discovered lots from simply two quick days’ value of psychological well being panels and conversations.
In my very own opinion, it was an unbelievable alternative to sit down alongside 25+ scholar athletes on a stage and speak about our experiences with balancing our psychological well being as a scholar athlete. I usually wouldn’t really feel snug in such a public setting sharing private issues about myself, however as soon as the panel dialog began flowing, I noticed I used to be not alone. I acquired to study from different scholar athletes’ experiences, and it made me understand that all of us wrestle with one thing in our lives, even when it means our struggles are in several areas. This was my favourite outtake of the convention: studying that I’m by no means alone in no matter I could also be going via. None of us are.
Not solely did I take consolation in the truth that psychological well being is a wrestle throughout the entire convention, however I used to be extra so grateful to have felt that the viewers listening to our tales discovered from every one in every of them. I felt that every coach, coach, psychological well being skilled, administrator and so on., walked away from that have eager to make a change on their campus. It made me astonishingly pleased figuring out that each particular person introduced these outtakes again to their establishments to advocate extra adequately for the psychological well being of collegiate scholar athletes.
After talking with my friends that additionally attended the convention, it appeared that my expertise was fairly just like theirs as properly. Morgan Byers touched on her expertise as a fellow scholar athlete that attended the summit.
“I might say it was extremely helpful listening to different college students share their first-hand experiences with the nervousness and different exterior stressors that include being a scholar athlete,” she stated. “It was nice bouncing concepts off of different college students on greatest help and construction your workforce, and create a tradition that fosters a profitable and optimistic surroundings.”
Byers additionally touched on the private connections she made after attending.
“General, it was a terrific expertise bonding with different athletes that, if it weren’t for the summit, I doubtless would have by no means met, not to mention gotten so shut with,” she stated. “The convention was in a position to highlight how an individual struggles of their day-to-day life, not simply as a competitor of their sport. It was a terrific expertise, and I can’t await extra Westminster college students to hopefully expertise it subsequent 12 months!”
On the workers aspect of the summit outtakes, Girls’s Volleyball Coach Tammy Swearingen claimed that it was extraordinarily helpful for her as a coach and administrator.
“It was necessary for me to listen to particular person issues from our scholar athletes concerning their psychological well being,” Swearingen stated. “The scholar athletes shared issues starting from tutorial strain and expectations, time administration, household strain and dynamics to self-imposed strain to excel and develop inside their particular person sports activities.”
Swearingen additionally touched on the stability between teachers and being a Division III athlete.
“Many famous that they chose Division III as a result of they needed to excel in each teachers and athletics,” she stated. “Every space is a precedence together with household and pals. Our athletes need to be good in all points, and that simply isn’t potential. We have to attempt for excellence.”
Males’s and Girls’s Soccer Coach Girish Thakar said that he additionally had a pleasurable expertise and discovered lots from the summit.
“I actually loved the interplay between the scholars, coaches and directors,” he stated. “I really feel the data we gathered on the summit goes to actually assist me with the on a regular basis communication with my scholar athletes.”
Athletic Coach Misty Motter additionally believed that the highlight on the psychological well being of a scholar athlete was one thing lengthy overdue.
“Listening to the voices of scholar athletes from Westminster and different convention faculties was highly effective on the influence of psychological well being,” Motter stated. “The Psychological Well being Summit introduced unity between opponents to fight such a extremely publicized subject.”
I couldn’t have stated it higher myself. The main focus of placing competitors apart to speak about one thing deeper, particularly after the detrimental results Covid-19 had on school college students all world wide, is one thing that ought to’ve been executed years in the past.
With the assistance of Dr. Dana Winters and Dr. Becky Zill, the psychological well being specialists that facilitated the summit, together with PAC Commissioner Joe Onderko and the Assistant Commissioner for Governance and Championships Kristin Consuegra, scholar athletes throughout the state had been in a position to share their tales and study from others’. It’s protected to say that this was an especially profitable summit that I can solely hope turns into an annual occasion down the highway. I actually can not wait to see the adjustments made in every particular person establishment within the years to return, and I’m most grateful to have been part of that change.