Mental Health Takes Center Stage at the College Football National Championship

By - Reid
01.11.24 03:16 PM

In recent years the sports world has expanded their acceptance of mental health advocacy, but rarely are we given public examples of proactive mental health preparation. Many of the examples of mental health represented in sport are found in reactionary situations when something has gone wrong and an athlete publicly admits they are struggling and need help. This season, we were given an example of someone normalizing proactive mental health practices.

JJ McCarthy, the starting Quarterback for the National Champion Michigan Wolverines, can be seen above in his pre-game meditation routine. JJ shared he “meditate[s] before the game just to really get my mindset into that calmness, that emptiness where I can allow things to happen and I can react from a higher perspective instead of reacting out of just straight impulse”.

Before his meditation routine, JJ remembers that he “just kept stemming further and further away from myself and my true nature, and I feel like I was in a deep rut for about a month or two and I was like, something has got to change. This is not who I am,”.

Instead of letting this feeling overcome him, he found a preventative measure that allowed him to maintain a healthy mental state during the season and attributes that to his ability to stay calm and consistent over a long season.

More importantly, JJ’s open representation of his practices continues to normalize the idea that athlete can, and do, have human emotions that need to be addressed and taken care of. Instead of simply hearing about it, upcoming student-athletes can now see someone walking the walk, and finding success in doing so.