“For some athletes going home can be even more stressful,” Morton said. “I think the main message is to stay connected as possible even with the physical distancing and let athletes know we miss them and love them and that they’re not alone. We’re all together in this.”
“You’re with your teammates 24-7 and now that’s gone,” she added. “We’re helping them get perspective on what this new normal will look like. We don’t know when this will end, but we do know it will end. Some are very much stuck in wrapping their heads around it all.”
Like other teams around campus, the Mizzou softball coaching staff holds weekly team meetings on Zoom in addition to daily interactions between coaches and athletes. Martin assigned each member of his staff two players to check in with daily.
“When people become isolated, social distancing is one thing, but if you don’t have contact with anyone and you’re in your house or apartment, that’s when things can get dangerous,” MU softball assistant coach Chris Malveaux said. “We’re all going through this at the same time and doing what we can to make sure people aren’t on their own and aren’t forgotten.”
Mizzou’s emphasis on mental wellness transcends the campus. At the conference level, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey made athlete mental health one of the primary talking points of his state of the conference address at last year’s football media days.