mental health services (1).

A 2021 survey from the American College Health Association showed 75% of survey participants reported moderate to serious psychological distress (2)

While there are many options for mental health treatment, a recent study looked at the potential benefits of team sports (3).

What was the study? (1)

A meta analysis (1) looking at 371 queried articles, 34 studies from 10 countries across 4 continents (3).

What were the results? (1)

The results of this review article showed the following benefits of team sports (3):

  • 5 studies showed that sport participation was associated with decreased depression/anxietyrates (OR 0.59, 95%CI 0.54–0.64). (3)
  • 7 studies showed improved social health outcomes with team sport participation. (Social health outcomes included academic performance, commitment, psychosocial health, social behavior/identity, and delinquency/high-risk activity. (3)
  • 5 studies showed that team sport participation decreased rates of cigarette/tobaccouse (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.69–0.76) (3).
  • 7 studies showed that team sports participation decreased alcohol/drug use(1) (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.69–0.77). (3)

What are some team sports options on campus?

  • Take a class involving team sports for course credit.
  • Join a team through OSU rec sports.
  • Play a team sport with friends on a regular basis.

Other thoughts:

  • You don’t have to be very athletic to participate in recreational sports.
  • Some students join team sports as a substitute/extra player so that you don’t have to play every week.
  • Some students may not be able to participate in team sports due to scheduling limitations.
  • Some students may find it stressful to participate in team sports.
  • Check with your health professional if participating in team sports is appropriate for you.

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

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 Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.  Permission to use/cite this article: contact


  2. American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment III: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2021. Silver Spring, MD: American College Health Association; 2021.
  3. Scott L. Zuckerman, Alan R. Tang, Kelsey E. Richard, Candace J. Grisham, Andrew W. Kuhn, Christopher M. Bonfield & Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn(2021) The behavioral, psychological, and social impacts of team sports: a systematic review and meta-analysis, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 49:3, 246-261, DOI: 1080/00913847.2020.1850152


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Posted by R. Ryan Patel DO, FAPA OSU CCS Psychiatrist at 11:13amPosted in LeisureLonelinessSocial InteractionSocial SupportSports mental healthStress Management Tagged benefits of team sportsLeisure mental healthmental health benefits of team sportsteam sports college mental healthteam sports mental health

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