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Am I Just Tired or is it Chronic Fatigue?

chronic fatigue graphic

Student-athletes can be some of the toughest people on the planet. Not everyone can handle gruelling practices 5-6 times a week, plus travel, competitions, and classes! It takes an awful lot of discipline and resilience to keep up with that kind of schedule. 

It is often this same resilience that puts student-athletes at a disadvantage when dealing with chronic fatigue and other mental and physical health challenges. 

Related: Importance of Sleep as an Athlete

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) can be caused by underlying issues such as hormonal imbalances, immune system issues, and emotional/physical trauma. Its symptoms can include the following: 

  • Fatigue
  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
  • Unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Dizziness 
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Extreme exhaustion after physical or mental exercise

Related: 6 Tips to Improve Your Sleep Schedule

As competitors, athletes may ignore the fatigue and symptoms they feel and instead try to “push through” to perform better. This kind of overtraining, however, can trigger chronic fatigue or exacerbate it. As shown in the graphic below, the same traits that make athletes who they are, leave them more susceptible to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

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