Being an athlete with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

 

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Me & Carey Price

So, today it was (rumoured) that a top athlete (Montreal Canadiens Goalie: Carey Price) was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome back in November.

And from all the websites, posts, media etc., everyone was making fun of the illness and saying it was from “Carrying the team on his back,” etc. What people don’t realize. Is how uneducated they are and how serious this condition is.

The only ones who are FULLY able to understand are those who suffer from it as well. Or those who suffer from (most) Chronic Illnesses (as most lead with similar symptoms).

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is when one is so exhausted that a normal rest period does not do them any good.

Most people are in tip-top shape after 6-8 hours of sleep. Those with CFS can have the same amount of sleep but barely be able to move the next day.

I know in my case, I am one who can be very functional but at times my body will shut me down for several days and those days I will sleep a good 30-40 hours. And, not at my own will, more of my body that is too exhausted to stand up etc.,

When one is suffering from CFS, or undergoing one of their flareups memory and concentration is completely off. Now, let’s imagine in certain scenarios;

  1. You are the top goaltender and are trying to make a playoff spot. You are not able to focus because of how burnt out you are. And the more you play the harder the focus and concentration becomes.
  2. You are studying for a big midterm and if you don’t pass it you will fail the class you need to graduate. But…the more you study the more fatigue you become. Also the more memory issues appear and how much will you really remember on the exam?

Just taking it from an athlete’s point of view VS a non-athlete, this illness is chronic. No matter if it is mental or physical that one is doing, the body is in over-drive and becoming burnt out. With that comes in all the other symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of memory or concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
  • Unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise

Now, when looking how CFS is being caused. Nobody really knows what the main cause is.

I have been diagnosed with it, and judging by almost everything my body is linked too…it is guaranteed to be a hormone factor.

But other reasonings could be a viral issue or another chronic illness that is over-laping it.

Treatments all depend on the person. Usually vitamin deficiency is one of the main issues. However, it is not always the issue. It really depends what is causing it.

But some ways to control it is;

  • Keeping a regular schedule (sleep/work etc).
  • Eating a healthy/balanced meal.
  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Avoiding sleeping pills/sleeping meds
  • Have relaxation periods throughout your day (alone if possible).
  • Steady training schedule.
  • Write everything down. See what triggers and what doesn’t.

For athletes of any level it becomes harder as you have to factor in game-day or comps (depending on your sport).

*Note: If you are not up to doing something. Don’t do it. Just relax and take care of yourself.

I am a Figure Skater. I compete (as an adult). The adrenaline gets me going and helps the CFS. But once it wares off I completely crash. If I go into a competition already exhausted it factors my results pretty deeply. But this is for another story (coming up).

As mentioned above; the tips are there to help stabilize life as much as possible to control CFS, but if there are other underlying issues these won’t give the results expected.

I hope with this post, people are more aware of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and realize this illness is critical and not a joke.

With the news that Carey Price was diagnosed with CFS, I would not be surprised to see many more athletes sooner or later come on the list.

I wish him wellness and hope he can find a way to help control this.

 

 

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