Sports, Depression & COVID-19: NBA’s Wilkins, NFL’s Fulcher will team up for virtual town hall at Jackson State University

(JACKSON, Miss.) — JSU’s College of Health Sciences will present a COVID-19 virtual town hall about sports and depression, featuring nine-time NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins and NFL Superbowl champion David Fulcher, along with other sports and health professionals for Mental Health Awareness Month.

Jackson State University women’s head basketball coach Tomekia Reed, who steered her team to a recent SWAC championship and NCAA tournament appearance, also will participate from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, in a discussion about “Sports & Depression: Pros, Health Experts Explain the Impact of COVID-19.” View the discussion @Facebook.com/JSUTV and @Facebook.com/jacksonstateu.

For more than a year now, practices and camps have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. While some professional players have been sidelined and attendance by spectators limited, athletes on every level have been impacted, including high schools and colleges. Now, attention is focused on the psychological effects.

The spread of the virus has increased pressures in many ways, especially since sports is used to reduce stress, control anxiety and earn college scholarships. The College of Health Sciences has invited special guests to address the consequences of COVID-19 because it realizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has created major challenges. Adults and children are experiencing strong emotions that can be stressful and overwhelming.

JSU health experts acknowledge that while public health actions, such as social distancing, have been necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the separation has made people feel isolated, lonely and increased anxiety.

Medical director Dr. Maxie Gordon, a psychiatry and internal medicine specialist at Gordon Medical Arts Clinic in Clinton, Mississippi, will delve into the emotional trauma. He will be joined by Shanice White, director of JSU’s Latasha Norman Center for Counseling Services, which aids students who have experienced adjustment challenges and societal problems. 

Rob Jay, general manager of JSUTV, will lead the panelists in a conversation that will address when and where to seek help and discuss the stigma, prejudice and discrimination of mental health issues:

Panelists:

  • Dominique Wilkins, 9-time NBA All-Star, Atlanta Hawks
  • David Fulcher, NFL Superbowl Champion, former Cincinnati Bengals Hall of Famer
  • Coach Tomekia Reed, JSU Women’s Head Basketball Coach
  • Shanice White, director, JSU Latasha Norman Center for Counseling Services
  • Dr. Maxie Gordon, psychiatry/internal medicine and medical director of Gordon Medical Arts Clinic

Here are mental health resources:

The forum is sponsored by the CDC Foundation.