Health experts believe mental health will improve due to start of football season
“Just getting that normalcy back will relieve some of that anxiety.”
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - It has been a different time for the Amarillo community the last five months.
Part of that changes as high school football starts today.
Some members of the community feel that high school football culture being back, eases the pandemic for people.
After speculation, the University Interscholastic League decided to have a high school football season this year.
Coaches say it brings the community together after five months of social distancing.
“It’s a different feeling, our community certainly feels it,” said Chad Dunnham, head coach for the Amarillo high school football team.
“Our community, our kids, our population needs some sense of normalcy and that’s whats excited me to get to this day that were going to have games,” said Kenneth Plunk, head coach for the Tascosa high school football team.
Health experts say it does more than just bring the community together, the culture of high school football will improve people’s mental health that has been much needed during the last five months of the pandemic.
“Because of the pandemic and the shutdown for a while, they’ve been alienated and alone. I’m sure there’s anxiety, depression, lots of boredom and that tends to make our mental health waiver a little,” said Amy Francis, school counselor at River Road high school.
Francis says students at River Road High School have expressed more mental health problems these last two weeks than they ever have in years prior.
She predicts fewer students will come to her about mental health problems after these games tonight.
“Just getting that normalcy back will relieve some of that anxiety,” said Francis
Francis said she believed there will be similar effects on adults.
Coaches believe the theme of football will also get people through the Coronavirus period.
“Football teaches us so much about life, about how to respond to adversity, about how to bounce back, about how to handle successes and failures,” said Dunnham.
While high school football being back could be good for Amarillo’s mental health, there are some risks.
“It’s possible we can get our hopes up, but something we dearly love and is very normal will be back and available to us, there’s a chance it could back fire on us,” said Rodney Young, chairman of family and community medicine department at the Texas Tech University of Health Sciences Center.
Young says since football players are in a close proximity the entire game, there are many opportunities that the virus could spread.
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