By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Apart from physical health, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is also monitoring the national athletes’ mental wellbeing as they deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) to the sporting world.
The agency’s sports psychology unit has actually released mental health guidelines to National Sports Associations (NSAs) and its athletes while keeping their communications open in case the need arises.
Since the Enhanced Community Quarantine was imposed last March 15, sports psychologists were able to conduct intake interview and online psychological assessment to six athletes and had online consultation with nine athletes.
Dr. Karen Trinidad, one of PSC’s sports psychologists, said most of the athletes they have talked with are experiencing anxiety, sleeping difficulties, as well as struggling adjusting on their training schedules.
Competitions around the globe are mostly on a standstill due to the health crisis, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was postponed from August this year to summer of 2021.
Athletes are also reduced to training at home due to quarantine.
“Uncertainty comes with anxiety and that’s why some athletes experience these things, which is just normal,” said Trinidad.
“We ask them to identify the thoughts that were bothering them and then we identify the things that they can control and things that they cannot control. We encourage them to connect with other people and assure them they are more than just athletes. They also play other roles in their life.”
Trinidad said they provide online sessions during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each session lasts 30 to 45 minutes.
The PSC has actually posted the contact details of its consultants that also include Dr Cely Magpantay, Dr Rodel Canlas, Dr Ryan Francis Cayubit, Denise Ang, Marco Angelo Ayuste and Ben John Montaron on all their social media accounts.
Trinidad is optimistic that Filipino athletes can handle the current situation.
“I think the ‘new normal’ could possibly be maximizing the apps on the internet for their training, which makes them more creative in terms of how they can training with limited resources,” she said.
“Filipino athletes are very resilient. They can easily bounce back in any situation with proper guidance.”