Mental Health in the Sports Workplace - e60 Work in Sports Podcast

By Brian Clapp | March 12, 2018

With the recent revelations of Demar DeRozan and Kevin Love dealing with mental health issues in the NBA, we tackle the issue of mental health in the sports workplace. How to protect yourself and recognize the signs and symptoms of a problem.

Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for and this is the work in sports podcast!

Before I get into today’s question I want to remind you all we are in the most wonderful time of the year for sports fans #MarchMadness or as we call it at Work in Sports . com -- #Jobmadness!

Couple of cool things going on on our site

1: We’re running our annual JobMadness promotion – get 2 weeks of full access to our site for just $5. Take a spin, check out the near 7000 sports jobs and internships we have currently active. You’re going to love it.

I’m looking at jobs right now with Fanatics, a minor league hockey team, bleacher report, brooks sports, tough mudder, various foundations, state athletic commissions…so much opportunity out there!

Hit me up on LinkedIn, via our private facebook group, or email me at and I’ll send you a link to the promotion

2:    We are also setting up our bracket buster for the tournament. Here’s how it works – I fill out a bracket, if you beat me you get a free month on our site. If you come in first overall, BOOM, it’s a $100 gift card from us to you.

Now normally someone would brag here saying there is no way you can beat me…but in all honesty, it’s become a bit of a joke around the office. We’ve done this with previous march Madnesses and the World Cup,  and every time, I stink. Like, awful. Like Michigan State losing in the first round and they were my championship pick awful.

So the odds are in your favor should you shoose to participate.

I’ll share a link on the shownotes for this episode… or you can just message me and I’ll send you the link to the bracket.

Sound goo? On with the show!


(Insert obligatory “I love the podcast” sentence).

With professional athletes such as Kevin Love speaking about his anxiety/mental health, could you address mental health in the work place? Sports is obviously a high pressure field and the jobs include long hours and lots of stress. 

Sometimes my life working in sports leaves me feeling anxious/down on myself, and I know I can’t be alone. What are some things that all of us feeling this way can do so that we can keep performing our best in the office?

Now before I get into this – remember I am not a psychologist, if you are having feelings that you can’t fix, or have thoughts of suicide or hurting others – find someone immediately to talk to who can help you.

I think this is a great subject Kelsey -- Demar DeRozan, Kevin Love and many other have come out recently, and honestly with raw emotion, explaining they are not machines. They have feelings and fears and doubts – like all of us.

I appreciate the fact that in your very question Kelsey you remarked on how you feel anxious and down on yourself sometimes working in sports. Good for you for being honest about it, and not trying to act tough.

That’s where I really commend these guys like Love and Derozan,  in a world emcompassed by machismo, they we vulnerable enough to say, it’s isn’t perfect in my head or in my heart.

This thing we are all doing – this life – is sure as hell not easy.

I feel mounting pressure each day – I have to publish this podcast, and I have copy to write and emails to send and meetings to attend….and then I have to finish my taxes, pick up the kids, go to baseball practice, attend a school board meeting and be patient, and stay humble and be kind.

It is nuts. I feel overwhelmed daily and I’m sure many of you do.Your Sports Career Questions Answered

Or you have some feeling of anxiety or doubt that creeps in.

I knew a TV director once, seriously one of the best I ever worked with, ran the control room like an orchestra, and then one day he froze. It got in his head and he couldn’t break it. It was like Chuck Knoblauch or Steve Sax throwing the first base. Or even more recently Jon Lester trying to make a pick off throw.

A mental wall forms and it becomes so high and mighty that you are struggling just to get back to where you were.

It’s not wonder that jobs in sports psychology are on the rise – the pressure on athletes is absurd and many of them don’t have the tools to overcome.

Most sports psychologists work in college athletics to try and help the student athletes maintain good mental hygiene, think about that for a second, most of these athletes were dominant in high school. They’ve never faced failure before and now they have to compete on a grand scale, and take classes, and face the press…it’s daunting.

But this conversation isn’t for the elite athletes, they have people helping them. This is for you and for me, who struggle through the pressure of work and sometimes have an incomplete feeling, or claustrophobic, or anxiety..or sometimes all of the above.

You know what is really sad – when you search for information or advice on mental health in the workplace, you know what you find, you find a lot fo articles from the employers perspective. Meaning, they say things like “mental health issues in your workplace can cost a business up to a million dollars in lost productivity per year”

This pisses me off – what about the person, what about the health of your workforce rather than just through the prism of the bottom line. Frustrating how even the most personal things can be turned into a revenue decision. What the heck is wrong with us. Sometimes it feels like we are all a bunch of callous aholes.

Anyway, what do you do?

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