Getting ready for return-to-normal, in the eyes of a student athlete

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — High school students everywhere are holding nerves for this fall – and what school will look like as we return to a more normal life.

This is the case for student athlete Ava Mendler, also a freshman at Brighton High School.

The uncertainty has been affecting what she loves most in life – sports. “Pole vaulting, cross country, track and field, Nordic skiing, Ninja Warrior,” she said.

She’s had to adjust to the pandemic as a student and an athlete.

“Training is just a lot less, and we don’t exactly know what to do to train, how much to train.”

Dr. Craig Cypher – sports psychologist with URMC says uncertainty applies to students everywhere – athletes or not. He says Mendler and many others aren’t sure what the fall will look like – they’re nervous about readjusting to a completely new routine again.

What if there’s more curveballs? How ‘normal’ will things look like? Will adjusting to this “new normal” be hard?

“I worry about kids getting disconnected, the ones who are in hybrid programs that’s not quite working for them, they’re disconnected academically, socially,” said Dr. Cypher.

Dr. Cypher says – you can work through all the change and anxiety by focusing on the now.

“So how do we take those opportunities right now, in terms of what’s healthy for me, activity level, nutrition, what are the things that give me meaning.”

For Mendler – sports give life meaning.

And she’s focused fully on herself – and her goals.

“Once things go back to normal we’re going to have some serious competitions and I want to be ready for them,” she said.

Mendler has also been featured in TV series American Ninja Warrior Junior.

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