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The psychology of no sports

How to cope with no sports to play or watch

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Coaches and athletes we've interviewed over the last few weeks are feeling like many of us who love sports are. For many, it's like our identity has been temporarily ripped away.

"Essentially we've all been benched," said Dr. Tia Konzer, a sports psychiatrist who normally practices in Davidson, but is doing virtual sessions for now.

"It's just jarring to the system of knocking you out of your daily routine and trying to figure out how you can work at your sport in a way that looks different than what you were doing before," she said.

Pro athletes must find different ways to stay in shape. They'll be able to continue at some point. But what about high school athletes, like the girls basketball team at Vance, which was one win away from a state championship. That means for many seniors, their basketball careers are over.

"It becomes tough because who are you and what other things do you like," she said, "and how do you occupy your time?"

For fans occupying time has become an interesting dilemma. Many are turning to the same thing -- old games.

"Part of that is nostalgia and comfort," said Konzer. "When people go to comfort foods. Things that give us comfort and safety. It reminds of a time when things are more stable, and has certain emotions tied to it."

It's a tough -- temporary -- time. And Konzer says its important for anyone's mental health to use that time wisely.

"I think getting a daily schedule in place can be helpful," Konzer said. "The world already feels chaotic, and if our day to day schedule feels chaotic that can just add to the anxiety."

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NCAA: COVID19 and mental health: http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/topics/covid-19-and-mental-health