Monday, April 20, 2020


By: Caroline Peters, WTRF News
WHEELING. W.Va. (WTRF) – There’s no doubt that being quarantined has placed its struggles on athletes across the nation. 
“You know we were going to go big this year, we’re still going to, once this all settles, I be looking out of the window and you know it looks like a ghost town. I want my life back,” said Mook Zimmerman, Head Coach of the West Virginia Roughriders. 
According to the NCAA Sport Science Institute, “mental health is a part of, not apart from, athlete health.” So how are athletes at every level staying mentally strong during Covid-19? 
“We encourage them to do some kind of working out whether it’s outside for a little bit or the living room. Just try to stay conditioned as best you can but it is tough right now for an athlete. But we are also encouraging our athletes at this point to take a lot of mental reps.” 
Having to stay inside means that athletes are limited on gym equipment and weights. Something that can affect their usual workout routines. But finding the ability to adapt and stay positive is crucial. 
I spoke with athletes from the high school level reaching to the NFL and they all offered the same mindset. Focus on what you can do right now.  
“Watch football, watch what you’re doing. Go back and do things you never had time when you were in school, film study,” said  Elijah Bell, former North Carolina A &T Wide Receiver and Wheeling Native. 
Bell said you have to find the positives through this quarantine. Some athletes have compared their quarantined to being benched due to an injury, something that can lend a valuable lesson.  

Friday, April 10, 2020


(Photo: Zach Drake,
By: Zach Drake,
Alcohol and drugs have never been more easily accessible to youth, and that's the reason many feel it's so important to educate them on the dangers of substance abuse early.
Former voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Rod Pedersen now works as a Sober Coach with Pedersen Recovery INC. for athletes, entertainers, the military and more who are battling addictions and mental illness.
Pedersen spends a lot of time working as a recovery advocate and serving as a keynote speaker.
Thursday afternoon, Pedersen spoke to a group of students at Peacock Collegiate. He described what his main message was in the presentation.
"Well, the number one weapon against addiction is prevention. So if we can stop kids before they've started drugs and alcohol abuse it's a win right there. If it's an older group I talk to, I say 'it's never too late to turn your life around' but with kids like this at Peacock I say 'it's never too early'. If you're starting to experience issues with mental health or addictions/substance abuse, look into it. Don't let it take your life down the drain like it did with mine."
Pedersen also explained why it's important to educate youth, even as young as 10 years old.
"I've become big on numbers. Suicide rates have tripled for kids 10-14, and there's a variety of reasons why that is ... a lot of excuses why that is. It's an important age; it's when people start to make life-altering decisions. Again it's about prevention, the number one weapon against addiction is prevention. We're trying to get to them as early as we can, because it's easier to build boys and girls than it is to repair men and women."
Pedersen added that it only takes one person in your corner to turn your life around and that it could be as simple as a single sentence that saves your life.


Photo: Mental health has been one of the most consistent undercurrents of discussion around the impacts of this country’s...