Local Athlete Calls Mindfulness Coaching Program a "Mental Lifesaver"

Elijah Munden has been playing sports since he was 3 years old, so the 17-year-old football standout at Kempsville High School knows what it’s like to have all eyes on him during a sporting event. While it’s exciting, it can also be stressful.

Elijah came to CHKD’s sports medicine program last year to receive treatment for a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, which is a common injury to a band of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shinbone.

That’s where he learned about a CHKD sports medicine mindfulness program for athletes, and signed up for it. Dr. Joel Brenner, sports medicine physician and medical director of CHKD’s sports medicine program, has developed a mindfulness program that helps athletes deal with anxiety associated with athletics and life in general.

Mindfulness is often used by athletes and performing artists to help improve performance. Regular mindfulness practice is believed to help further psychological insight and contribute to emotional well-being over time.

Athletes are taught different mindfulness skills as part of the program. Mindfulness practices should be integrated into daily activities as they develop.

Elijah calls it a mental lifesaver.

"My whole life I have played football," Elijah said. "I also play basketball, I’ve done soccer; I have done gymnastics and wrestling.

Everybody around the whole world is watching you, and only you. You do one thing, and all eyes are on you.

It is a different feeling you get. Sometimes it's exciting; sometimes it's absolutely nerve-racking.

Learning as an athlete how to deal with that anxiety in the moment, and how to cope with depression is important.

Everybody is human. Feelings are not just something that make us weird or different.”

Watch as Elijah Shares his Story with Local Media

CHKD program teaches young athletes about importance of mental health on and off the field

Click on the image below for the full report on WAVY.com.

WAVY-Elijah Munden-Mindfulness

CHKD's Mindfulness Program helps athletes cope with stress 

Click on the image below to watch the full report on WTKR.com.

WTKR-Mindfulness Coaching-Elijah Munden