Wayne State College

Personal Counseling

How to Help an Athlete


For Student-Athletes, Teammates, Coaches, and Yourself

The following material refers to the WSC mental health procedure for all those involved with WSC athletics. The WSC Athletic Department requires a well-student check under these conditions with Student Health and Counseling Services for any flagged concerns on current pre-participation forms. This check will allow for an initial introduction to Student Health and Counseling Services, who they are and what resources they provide. This procedure gives guidance on how to proceed with any mental health concerns with members of your team.

Does this athlete need an immediate referral? Is this situation life-threatening?

Yes - referral is required:

  • Suicidal ideation: Statements such as "I'm ending it," " no one cares," or other similar comments
  • Discussions or evidence of self-harm: Discussing cutting, taking drugs or alcohol; visible scars or cuts, notable intoxication, or taking drugs/pills
  • Discussion of harming others: Threats to other people and discussion of means

What to do: 

  • Call 911
  • Call Campus Security
  • Call Counseling Services
  • Stay with or go to the athlete
  • Notify athletic director and head coach

Unsure - referral may be recommended:

  • Behaviors to monitor: Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits; unexplained weight loss or gain; withdrawn from social contact; decreased interest in activities; lack of emotion or sudden changes in emotion; negative self-talk; anxiety or persistent worry
  • Triggering events: Poor performance; conflicts with coaches or teammate; debilitating injury or illness; concussion complimations; class concerns; changes in importance of sport (expectations/role of sport); previos history of mental health condition; burnout

What to do:

  • If a student-athlete presents with two or more of the above, a referral to Counseling Services is recommended. If any present in conjunction with indications of self-harm, refer immediately.
  • Call resources for information on how to proceed; let trainer or coach know; stay with teammate; call 911 if an emergency.

No - but may need follow-up:

  • If questions arise, call ahead to Counseling Services to see if referral is necessary 402-375-7321
  • Have a formal discussion with the student-athlete to address concerns
  • Have the student-athlete agree to and make and appointment with Counseling Services
  • Follow up with Counseling Servies to verify the student-athletes attendance
  • Notify athletic director and head athletic trainer

Additional Resources


Mental Health Screening

Stop A Suicide

Be Vocal, Speak Up

Jed Foundation (PDF)

Student Health and Counseling Services
Student Center Room 103
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

WSC Campus Security
402-375-7216 (answered 24/7)

WSC Athletic Director
Mike Powicki     
402-375-7520 (Office)    
WSC Athletic Office - Above Recreation Center

WSC Head Athletic Trainer 
Dr. Muffin Morris    
402-375-7700 (Office)
605-202-0577 (Cell)    
WSC Sports Medicine – Above Recreation Center

Crisis Response Line

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Text 741741