The Brain Gap in College Football: The Critical Need for Schools to Start Addressing Players Brain Health/Performance with a Brain Technology Program
In today’s cutthroat football arena, neglecting the mental well-being of athletes isn't just a disservice—it's a strategic blunder. With the undeniable correlation between an athlete's mental health and their overall performance, sticking to outdated models is akin to choosing failure over success. (NCAA "Mental Health Best Practices" was last updated in 2012. Link here)
Let's delve into why the current system is failing and how a comprehensive brain health/performance program around brain technology can revolutionize the athletic industry. (list of brain technology used upon request)
Problems with the Current System:
Every day we delay implementing comprehensive mental health and performance programs, our athletes, especially in contact sports, face increasing risks of CTE and other repetitive head trauma conditions. (Boston University research link)
In the current model, the athlete has to self-identify the mental problem and then pursue a mental health professional. This reactive approach does not help the athlete that is silent about their issues.
Limited Resources: Most football teams have only 1 to 4 mental performance coaches to handle 20 to 100 players, leading to strained attention and quality. For example, the University of Alabama only lists 1 “Director or Behavioral Medicine” listed on its staff directory page. She is the only mental resource listed. In contrast, they have 3 pilots and 11 strength coaches taking care of their athletes. https://rolltide.com/staff-directory
Shallow Techniques: While techniques like breathing exercises and visualization are valuable, they may not address underlying issues like anxiety, depression, or head trauma like brain technology can.
Ignoring Head Trauma Symptoms:
Traditional mental coaching does not address the effects of head trauma, focusing on soft skills that can be impeded by underlying brain injuries. According to the same BU study, a mathematical minimum of 10% of active college and NFL football players will face CTE, maybe far more - unless something different is done. (Research link here) This equals to 10 current players on a roster of 100.
Trust Building: Building trust is essential but often slow and must be player-initiated. This delay can hamper the performance improvement process.
Meetings: Student athletes have a limited time durning the day and need to maximize every minute. One-on-one mental performance meetings can take time and pushed aside with other priorities.
Since mental performance coaches are employed by the team or university, players may fear that personal struggles could become known to coaches and leadership, impacting their standing amongst coaches, support staff, and teammates.
Turnover: Lack of Consistency and Quality:
Frequent turnover and variability in coaching quality lead to inconsistencies, adversely affecting players' mental performance and health. Players suffer as the coaching carousel eviscerates continuity.
The Future: Brain Technology Programs
While the current situation may sound dire, the solution is within our grasp. Brain technology programs aren't just the future; they're the urgent need of the present.
The brain technology used heals and improves issues at the brain level without the athlete communicating the adverse effects they are having.
A brain performance program, utilizing a combination of portable and in-lab technology, meets the needs of every athlete, ensuring both scalability and quality.
Addressing Head Trauma:
Technology specifically designed to heal and reverse head trauma symptoms will provide a holistic solution to mental well-being, especially for athletes playing contact sports. Here is a research study of 15 ex-NFL players who improved their brain health through direct neurofeedback brain technology. (Link to research paper)
Improves the Central Nervous System (CNS) for Performance:
The CNS governs your reaction time and cognitive processing speed. To fundamentally enhance the CNS, one must utilize advanced brain technology. This is a proven system that is missed by athletes. See video of Kirk Cousins using Neurofeedback to improve his CNS.
Faster and Time-Efficent:
Faster: From day one, athletes can experience improvement, with benefits compounding over time as the brain grows stronger and more resilient.
Time-Efficent: Athletes can use the the brain technology as they are doing other activities like receiving treatment or watching game-film
A Non-Verbal Approach:
Progress doesn’t require disclosure. Sessions can be completely quiet, yet still yield positive results, alleviating confidentiality concerns.
Consistent Quality Assurance:
The technology ensures a consistent quality of service. Operators will be thoroughly trained to ensure every athlete gets the exact treatment they need.
To delay adopting comprehensive brain health/performance programs isn't just a missed opportunity; it's a stark neglect of our duty to protect and nurture our athletes. The data speaks for itself. A 1:200 ratio is unacceptable. (See numbers below)
At CalmWaves, we're not just offering a service—we're sounding an alarm. With our experience and revolutionary brain performance program, we're paving the way to a brighter, healthier future for athletes. If you genuinely believe in offering the best for your players, the time to act is now. Don't let your team be left in the dust. Reach out to us today.
The number of mental health professionals supporting the athletic department for the past 10 Football National Champions.
Neurofeedback and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are two distinct therapeutic approaches with different techniques and goals. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two therapies and their applications in treating mental health conditions.
Results showed significant improvements (p < .0001) in average symptom ratings across 15 major problem areas, including anxiety, mood disturbance, attentional problems, fatigue, pain, and sleep problems, after an average of only 20 treatments.