Ateneo Lady Eagles on the road to accepting mental struggles
MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Lady Eagles, like a number of sports teams, are dealing with mental challenges following the cancelation of sports events.
Ateneo women's volleyball head coach Oliver Almadro – in a forum hosted by Ateneo de Davao University athletics director Noli Ayo on sports psychology – admitted that the reigning UAAP queens are still in the "depression stage" in the Kubler-Ross and Kessler’s Cycle of Grief.
"I ask my players, what do you miss. Number one, I want to see my teammates. I really want to hear mass. We want to eat [samgyupsal], go to the beach."
"Because of the people sharing… everybody has hope and acceptance that [there's a meaning to this pandemic]," said Almadro.
The Lady Eagles held a 1-1 win-loss card and bowed to archrivals La Salle Lady Spikers before Season 82 was suspended on March 10 and the league officially terminated it on April 7.
Aside from their doomed title run, Ateneo might face another blow as the return of veterans Kat Tolentino and Jhoanna Maraguinot for another season is still in question.
The cycle of grief
Aside from Almadro, sports personalities and experts joined the discussion on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the mental health of athletes and coaches.
Sports psychologist Dr Marissa Guinto of University of the Philippines-Diliman explained that the changes faced by the athletes due to the enhanced community quarantine can lead to ambiguous grieving.
"Our student-athletes, players, are grieving the loss of something," Guinto said during her discussion.
Such changes brought about by the pandemic fall under the "radical and unwanted changes" that can be compared to the effects athletes face in career-ending injuries, death and disaster.
Guinto tackled the importance of identifying what the athletes and coaches are going through by presenting the Kubler-Ross and Kessler’s Cycle of Grief, which helped naming the stages of the grieving process they are currently facing.
The cycle presented 6 stages – shock and denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance and meaning.
Aside from this cycle, the forum also talked about points that might help to improve the mental state of the athletes during the lockdown, including practicing mindfulness, establishing social connection, setting daily routines, self-care for body and mind, humor and spirituality.
"Athletes are creatures of routine – demanding and rigorous routine. Now it’s gone, so we have to help them," Guinto emphasized. – Rappler.com