Villanova Track Story Runners Mental Health Awareness Campaign Launched

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Winning Streaks has announced a new mental health awareness campaign and will be supporting the Villanova Track & Field program with 100% of proceeds from the Touching Greatness, Forever Together book by Jerry Bouma.

The new campaign has been announced as data from the American College of Sports Medicine shows that 35% of elite athletes have some form of mental health disorder – ranging from burnout to depression. This percentage is considerably higher than the 21% of adults reported to experience mental health issues nationwide and underscores the stressful nature of sport.

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Winning Streaks explains that mental health is the invisible opponent in the sports world and aims to raise awareness of the discourse surrounding it for all athletes. The latest campaign focuses on the Villanova Track & Field program and is intended to enhance the experience for student-athletes.

The Touching Greatness, Forever Together book was written by Jerry Bouma, a former Villanova track star from 1970 to 1974. It discusses the rise of the school’s running program and the results the team achieved, guided by Coach Jack Pyrah.

The book reveals how the Villanova track team was able to achieve sustained success over two decades of competition. It won the Championship of America distance medley relay in 16 consecutive years, a feat that Winning Streaks notes is unparalleled in both amateur and professional sports.

Thanks to Jerry Bouma’s involvement in the team, the book provides detailed insights into the movement and the day-to-day operations that led to this unbeaten run.

Now, as more emphasis is placed on the national mental health conversation, Winning Streaks aims to generate more interest and engagement. The organization explains that only 10% of elite athletes with mental health issues seek care from a professional. As such, by raising awareness of the different conditions experienced by athletes, the campaign aims to encourage more discussion and debate.

A spokesperson states: “Winning Streaks supports breaking the silence on mental health for all runners. Data from the American College of Sports Medicine indicates that 35% of elite athletes struggle with burnout, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other mental problems that we don’t hear about. That said, we’re shining the light and opening up the conversation about mental wellness for every athlete as it becomes more prevalent and commonplace.”

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