The recent spotlight on elite athletes and mental health is not limited to the Olympic sports.
As many core Cubs players cope with the uncertainty around this week’s trade deadline, former MVP Kris Bryant identifies with the recent struggles of Simone Biles, who’s regarded as the best gymnast of all-time and one of the top athletes in the world.
“It's something that needs to be talked about way more in sports and life in general,” Bryant said Tuesday.
Biles withdrew from the women’s gymnastics team final in the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, citing her mental health while acknowledging the pressure she felt.
“Physically, I feel good,” Biles told TODAY’s Hoda Kotb. “Emotionally it varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat.”
Bryant said he has followed Biles’ story.
“It takes a lot of courage,” he said. “Whatever it may be, whatever she did, sometimes you’ve got to take care of yourself. If you're not in the right headspace, there's no way you should be on a stage like that. And I applaud her for that.”
Bryant, who has dealt with ups and downs on the field and even criticism in recent years, now faces the possibility he could be traded from the only organization he’s ever known.
“I'm constantly working on the mental aspects of this game,” Bryant said, “and I've never even come close to mastering it or perfecting it.
“It's always a challenge and there's always something new, whether it's trade talk, or you're sucking at playing baseball, or it’s something off the field, or just a bunch of worries, or the future, the past. All that stuff pops in your head."
It’s become a growing story in sports. Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from two Majors in May and June to prioritize her mental well-being.
"It's important to surround yourself with people who help you along the way," Bryant added. “Pick up the guitar or play some video games, take your mind off it. That's kind of what I do. Chase the little guy around the house.
"Have some chocolate cake, some ice cream. It helps. And go to sleep, get nine hours of sleep, wake up and have a positive attitude for the next day.”