Cura Personalis for Georgetown’s Division I Athletes
Funds a full-time mental health and wellness counselor for student athletes
Covers expenses related to wellness programs
A first within the Big East Conference
Wake up, go to class, watch film, eat, practice, get treatment, class, lift, eat, study, sleep…repeat. That’s a day in the life of a student-athlete. According to the NCAA, the average Division I student-athlete spends nearly 80 hours each week balancing academic and athletic commitments.
“We hope to build a model that becomes the standard for student-athlete care.”
The pressure created by busy schedules and performance expectations weighs heavily on Georgetown’s 700+ student-athletes, who collectively average a 3.24 GPA. After Hoya Lacrosse Team Captain Nic Mahaney (B’16) graduated from Georgetown McDonough in May 2016, he reflected on his daily struggles as a student-athlete, including his recovery from three surgeries in two years.
“As athletes, we’ve spent a big part of our lives competing at the highest level, but the intense demands on our time, mind, and bodies—not to mention the pressure of living up to the high expectations of our families, friends, and coaches—is a real challenge,” shares Mahaney. “I was fortunate to have my family’s support to work through many issues, but not every athlete has that advantage.”
In August 2016, he and his mother Sarah Ondaatje (Parent’13,’16) began conversations with Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed on starting a new Student-Athlete Health and Wellness Initiative with current-use funds. This discussion, and recognizing the importance of supporting student-athlete mental health, led to a collaboration with Georgetown’s Counseling and Psychiatric Service (CAPS) and the hiring of an on- site Head of Athletic Counseling Services.
“My mother and I were not sure of the response we would get from the university but everyone was on board from the beginning. From trainers to coaches to administrative staff, everyone at Georgetown quickly made it happen,” adds Mahaney.
Reed’s decision to hire Dr. Brad Foltz, a full-time clinical psychologist dedicated to student-athletes, was a first within the Big East Conference.
Dr. Foltz started in November 2017 and by the end of the spring semester he had provided one-on-one counseling to many student-athletes as they worked through anxiety and other issues. He also met with full teams to discuss mental preparation for games and overall stress management. In addition, he ran seminars for coaches and other staff members.
“My goal is to work with Georgetown’s sports medicine and athletics administrative staff to build a well-rounded wellness program that helps student-athletes succeed and grow athletically, academically, and personally,” says Foltz. “As we continue to develop our program, we hope to build a model that becomes the standard for student-athlete care in the Big East.”