Sports and Mental Health

McCarly sits on a bench outdoors on campus.

Junior Psychology major McCarly Thompson shares advice on how taking up exercise or participating in sports improves more than just our physical well-being.

It is safe to say that the watching and/or playing of sports has been one of the world’s greatest pastimes for centuries. From childhood, through the stages of adulthood, leading up to old age, humans all over the country participate in sports-related activities throughout their daily life.

McCarly sitting on a bench next to his skateboard.

According to the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, “The Royal College of Psychiatrists recognize exercise prescription as a treatment modality for a wide range of mental health conditions.” That’s right: Not only can exercising and participating in sports benefit us on the physical level, but also the mental level as well! 

Participating in exercise and sports on a team-based or competitive level has many benefits to our mental health in ways we may not even imagine. By helping us form social connections with others, sports can prevent and decrease the chances of depression and help us create strong relationships with people of similar interest as us. Participating in these activities also do justice on the personal level by increasing motivation and self-esteem via selective hormones in the body. Physical activity is also good for children in helping them make friendships, learn how to problem solve, and work their way through a task to reach an end goal.

Clinicians have recently been promoting physical activity as a substitution for many other intervention services. Instead of writing up a prescription or putting someone in an institution, physical therapists have seen positive results in just advising several hours of physical activity a week to their patients. Ironically, it is important to note that many professional athletes do not seek mental health assistance due to the stigma behind it. The stereotype also follows that “big, strong men” don’t need to talk to anyone about their problems or feelings, when in fact this is not the case.

Therapeutic service has actually been shown to increase performance in athletes, proving a strong correlation between sport and mental health. I believe that if we as a people raise awareness of the benefits of sports/physical activity, we would see the rise of a healthier generation on the physical and mental side, and also more elite athletes, able to reach their full potential on the field.

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Story by:
McCarly Thompson, junior, psychology major

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Finding My Place at Rowan as an Adult Learner

Rasheed sitting in business hall.

Today we speak with Rasheed McCord, a retired veteran and adult learner from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County), about his Rowan experience. Rasheed is wrapping up his last semester of undergraduate studies as a Psychology major at Rowan and is preparing to earn a master’s degree in Clinical Counseling.

When did you start at Rowan? 

I became a full-time student at Rowan in 2015, after transferring from Rowan College at Burlington County.

Why did you choose Rowan?

At first I was going to Rowan College at Burlington County as a business major. I had an interest in owning my own business. I found that business can be very impersonal and I like being personal with people. One of the requirements for my degree was to take a psychology or sociology class, and when I took a psychology class it was the opener for me. I thought, ‘This is what I need to study.’ It was a no brainer for me. It gave me a way to help people and be fulfilled.

Rasheed stands outside the Rohrer College of Business.People in my life kept telling me I would be a good counselor or therapist or psychologist. People have always come to me with their problems and asked for advice. It wasn’t just my friends, but professionals in the field, who were telling me I had the right mindset for the psychology field. It was a sign for me. The more I learned, the more passionate I became. At first I was just going for my bachelor’s, but I realized I needed a master’s degree in order to help people more.

Has Rowan been accommodating to you as an adult learner and veteran? How so?

I can’t say enough about the faculty and the staff at Rowan. They really encouraged me all the way through this process. They all took time with me to let me know that I could do this. The staff at Rowan have been there for me professionally since day one. The Veterans Affairs [Military Services] office encouraged me [to pursue] this program and helped sponsor me for my master’s degree.

I haven’t had a professor that doesn’t love what they are doing. They all take a deep interest in their field. That’s something that aspiring students can look forward to at Rowan — knowing that they have a supportive, caring staff. That was a big driver for me to continue my education. 

Rasheed stands outside the modern outside of Business Hall, looking off to the side with hands in his pockets. You are working toward receiving your clinical counseling master’s degree. What has that process been like so far? 

I chose Rowan for my master’s because I already know what it’s like to be a student here, and I’ve had a great experience so far. Why would I want to go somewhere else, where I could stay somewhere I know I am cared for?

What are your goals for your degree? How has Rowan prepared you to achieve them?

I intend to become a licensed therapist or psychologist and work with veterans that may suffer from PTSD or depression. Or, I would like to work at a hospital facility where I would be counseling others who need my help. 

Any parting advice for Rowan students, specifically adult learners or those who are considering going back to school?

Don’t underestimate yourself. Don’t feel like because you’re an adult learner that you have to play catch-up. Be a constant learner, so it doesn’t matter what age you are. As long as you have your goals in mind, you’ll be successful. Being around some of the younger students gave me perspective on how they view the world, and it was good to see. I was able to share my experience with them, and it was a good exchange that we could both learn from.

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Story by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

#PROFspective: Clinical Mental Health Counseling Graduate Student Dave Berg

David outside Science hall

Today, we speak with Dave Berg, clinical mental health counseling graduate student from Wenonah, NJ (Gloucester County). Dave will share his #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University graduate student and how he’s getting the most out of his college experience as a Rowan Prof. Name: Dave Berg Major: Clinical Mental Health […]