An Athlete’s Mental Health Story and How it Impacted the Relationships Around Her

Gianna Salzbrunn is a  senior on the Track & Field at Eastern Michigan University. Gianna was going through the typical schedule of a student-athlete but became quickly overwhelmed. She started her college experience, dealing with her grandfather’s illness, putting her dog down, and starting college. However, during one practice, she showed negative emotions, and her coach later scolded her after the practice for showing that emotion. She carried a lot of resentment towards the sport of track and field because when her grandfather first got sick, she asked her coach if she could go home. The coach refused. She became angry. Luckily, she had training partners and teammates that supported her. But for some, they have to turn to other resources like sports psychologists. 

Eastern Michigan only had one sports psychologist for 16 teams. There were moments when Gianna wanted to talk to her but had to wait four days to. “What if I need you right now?” And some questions can be about how Eastern Michigan is creating awareness around mental health by having a whole week dedicated to athletes and mental health. 

This is Gianna’s story and how she came to appreciate the EMU coach who pushed her to overcome her negative emotions. 

* Originally published on September 21, 2020, by Janice Shin

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