The Atlantic

Why Are So Many Teen Athletes Struggling With Depression?

When high-school sports replicate the training methods and intensity seen at the college level, players feel the toll.
Source: K. C. Alfred / Getty

When Isabella started playing lacrosse in the first grade, she would wake up before sunrise and count the minutes until she could hop the chain-link fence that separated her house from the field where her team practiced. Her deftness with a lacrosse stick made her an early standout, and she soon gave up basketball and soccer to focus on the sport. By the time Isabella was a high-school sophomore, she had already been recruited by an elite, Division I college and was signing autographs in her lacrosse-obsessed hometown. “Lacrosse was a way to get attention—it filled that need,” says Isabella, who is being identified by her middle name to protect her privacy.

But during the summer before her junior year, Isabella pivoted awkwardly during a game and fell to the ground in pain. She had torn her ACL. For eight months, she couldn’t return to the field. “It was my worst year ever,” Isabella”

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