Star Gymnast Simone Biles made headlines after she pulled out of the team event final at the Olympics Games due to her mental health. QB Aaron Rodgers had his own fight with mental health this past offseason. And hopes that more athletes will open about their battles.
Simone Biles, the 25-year-old defending champion of the individual all-around gymnastics title, has decided to forego the chance to go for a second straight Olympic win, prioritizing her mental well-being over medal success.
Simone Biles’s withdrawal from Olympic events reflects a cultural shift, as some athletes put mental health above an appearance of invincibility. https://t.co/6yr4lGGeLn
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 28, 2021
The Packers quarterback himself had one of the most turbulent offseasons for a superstar in recent memory. From potentially demanding a trade, to holding out of training camp and the 2021-22 season, to even retiring, Packers fans have been on an absolute roller coaster this year. And after finally returning to training camp, Rodgers gave an important statement on taking this summer to work on his mental health.
Aaron Rodgers opened about athletes and mental health
Speaking to Kevin Clark of The Ringer, Rodgers said he hopes that the recent discourse on mental health for athletes continues. He said that he hopes athletes use their growing platforms to influence people to get help whenever they need it.
“Well, we should keep talking about it,” Rodgers said. “Keep talking about ways that we individually deal with stress and deal with anxiety and deal with pressure and deal with depression or loneliness. I think that would really help. Because we, whether we like it or not, have a platform to influence people. And our words are often listened to more than the person who’s not in the public eye as much. So we have an opportunity — not an obligation, an opportunity — to maybe share some of our own ways of dealing with things and break some of the stigma around mental health.”
“I give Simone so much credit for her ability to speak the truth, her truth, and to answer tough questions, and to have the courage to say, ‘I’m scared’ and ‘I don’t feel like I should be out there,’” Rodgers told Clark. “She’s the greatest gymnast of all time. And mental health [awareness] is an issue that is continuing to break down the stigmas that don’t allow us to talk about it or only allow us to talk about it in a super negative, depressive, suicidal way.
People of all ages and all professions are dealing with mental issues, especially during COVID. You’ve seen the suicide hotline [calls] going way up. We’ve seen so many different statistics around mental health. . . .
#Packers Rodgers gives nod to Simone Biles and says he spent this off-season working on his mental clutter: “I think there needs to be more conversation around that we as athletes are often out on pedestal that we’re beyond mental hinderances or clutter…”
— Rachel Hopmayer (@rachelhopmayer) July 28, 2021
“It’s something we should be talking about and ways to help people get through it, whether it’s techniques or therapy or just conversations letting people know they’re not alone. And that’s what Simone did. I’m very, very proud of her. I’ve gotten to know her a little bit at times over the years. And I think what she did and then the way she handled herself, cheering for her teammates, was really special to watch in a tough situation for her. And I give her just a tremendous amount of respect.”
Hopefully many apart from Rodgers and Biles in the sports world will keep up the message on the importance of mental health.