A Toxic Culture in the Locker Room
A recent episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel takes a look at eating disorders among male athletes. One of the athletes featured is Guy East, a professional cyclist who has been competing since 2005. East mentions the toxic culture in the locker room when it comes to weight and body image. He also reveals that he started purging when he knew he wouldn’t be able to burn off enough calories while cycling. Journalist Soledad O’Brien asks him, “How often were you throwing up after eating?” to which East responds, “Couple of times a week, you know. Sometimes multiple times a day.” When O’Brien asks if he told anyone, East answers with “Who you gonna talk to about it?” Unfortunately, this heartbreaking exchange is all too common in men’s sports.
Some Shocking Numbers
As we have stated in previous blogs, eating disorders have the highest fatality rate of all mental health issues. Furthermore, according to a National Eating Disorders Association study, researchers found that 10 percent of college male athletes are at risk for developing anorexia. Additionally, 38 percent are at risk for bulimia. These numbers may seem shocking at first. However, once you think about what some of these athletes have gone through from an early age, they really aren’t that surprising. I remember some of the members of my high school wrestling team – teenage boys – doing things like wearing plastic-lined sweatsuits, running in place between classes, and spitting in water bottles. They would do anything to shed extra pounds before a meet. And social media only compounds the problem. Behavior like this, especially at such a young age, is a recipe for disaster.
Eating Disorders Affect All of Us
Women suffer from eating disorders twice as often as men, with some shocking numbers of their own when it comes to athletics and risk. According to the study mentioned above, 35 percent of female college athletes are at risk for developing anorexia. Furthermore, 58 percent are at risk for bulimia. However, the perception that eating disorders only affect women is part of the problem when it comes to male athletes. They don’t see themselves as being at risk for eating issues. And when they do, the shortage of options when it comes to treatment centers leads athletes like East to say, “Who are you gonna talk to about it?” Ocean Recovery specializes in treating eating disorders for both women and men. If you or someone you love is suffering please don’t hesitate to call today.