Mental illness a growing concern on tennis tours

For Petra Kvitova, everything changed thanks to a single, simple text message. It was February, and the Czech tennis standout had just landed in Doha, Qatar, for the next stop on the hectic tennis circuit. Seven months after winning her second Wimbledon title and four months after clinching another Fed Cup, she ought to have been on a high. But something was wrong. She felt empty, listless and, most worrying of all, unable to explain why.

Kvitova was preparing for her second-round match against Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic when she checked her text messages. Among them was one from her longtime coach, David Kotyza.

Petra Kvitova said she was burned out, mentally, after playing so much tennis. AP PhotoTim Ireland

“I think it’s a good idea to take a break,” he said. “Otherwise, I don’t know how long you are going to keep on feeling this way.”

Taken aback by the message, the 25-year-old knew something had to be done. She thought it over “for four days and for four nights” until she realized Kotyza was right. The pair had discussed her feelings in January during a tournament in Sydney in a conversation that had Kvitova on the verge of tears. Mentally and physically, she was exhausted.

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Doctor, It’s My Arm

FROM THE MAY 2015 ISSUE OF DISCOVER

Doctor, It's My Arm

Exercise-induced pain stops a healthy baby boomer in his tracks. Is his heart telling him to slow down?

By H. Lee Kagan| Thursday, April 02, 2015

RELATED TAGS: PERSONAL HEALTH

Phil, a 68-year-old retired real estate developer, had done high-altitude trekking on nearly every continent in the world. He was lean, athletic and healthier than most men his age. So when he called to tell me he was having arm pain when he exercised, it caught me by surprise.

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Catching up, finally, with Amber Trotter

Ukiah cross country runner Amber Trotter, left, celebrates with Montgomery's Sara Bei after the state meet in 2000. (PRESS DEMOCRAT ARCHIVE)

Ukiah cross country runner Amber Trotter, left, celebrates with Montgomery’s Sara Bei after the state meet in 2000. (PRESS DEMOCRAT ARCHIVE)

By PHIL BARBER – THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
November 23, 2013, 3:00 AM

UKIAH — The fastest schoolgirl in American history speaks rather slowly. She is introspective and articulate, and she chooses her words carefully, though she remains as candid as ever.

“Right now, I just don’t have much desire to prove myself,” Amber Trotter said. “The older I get, the harder it is for me to want to prove myself.”

Granted, Trotter is not a schoolgirl anymore, unless you count her Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. She is 29 now. But anyone who follows distance running in the Redwood Empire knows her name, and probably remembers the records she shattered as a senior at Ukiah High in the fall of 2001.

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Why are 13 Iowa football players hospitalized? No firm answers

Hawk Central
January 26, 2011 | Mark Emmert

Iowa City, Ia. — Thirteen unidentified Iowa football players remain hospitalized with a muscle injury syndrome likely triggered by heavy workouts over the past week, university officials said Wednesday at a news conference.

From left: Biff Poggi, Paul Federici and John Stokes are pictured during Wednesday's press conference in Iowa City. (Rodney White/Des Moines Register photo)

From left: Biff Poggi, Paul Federici and John Stokes are pictured during Wednesday’s press conference in Iowa City. (Rodney White/Des Moines Register photo)

Dr. John Stokes, who is not directly involved with the treatment of the athletes, said the condition, called rhabdomyolysis, is fairly common among football players and that it is typically not career-threatening.

Stokes said, however, that he had never seen as many cases at one time in his 32 years practicing internal medicine at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.

“It does appear to be a little unusual, but apparently the common denominator for each of these individuals had to do with the fact that they were undergoing a workout, a heavy exercise program,” said Stokes, during a gathering at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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