Edmonton Oilers defenseman Slater Koekkoek recently shared his struggles with anxiety and how it has affected his life both on and off the ice. In a candid interview with The Athletic, he opened up about the mental health battles he’s faced throughout his career and how he’s learned to cope with them over time.
Koekkoek revealed that he first started experiencing anxiety when he was just a teenager and that it’s something that has never gone away. He described the feeling as “unbearable” and said that it’s often difficult to explain to others who haven’t experienced it themselves.
Over the years, Koekkoek has developed strategies to manage his anxiety, which includes daily meditation, practicing yoga, and focusing on his breathing during high-pressure situations. He also credits therapy and talking with mental health professionals as key components in his journey towards mental wellness.
The young defenseman also touched on the stigma surrounding mental health issues in professional sports, admitting that it can be difficult to speak openly about his struggles when there is so much pressure to always appear confident and strong.
However, Koekkoek believes that it’s important to have these conversations and to share his experiences with others who may be going through similar struggles. He hopes that by speaking out, he can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage others to seek the help they need.
Koekkoek’s openness about his battle with anxiety is a powerful reminder that mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of their career or social status. It’s important that we continue to prioritize mental wellness and provide support to those who are struggling.
As for his future with the Oilers, Koekkoek is looking forward to continuing to grow both on and off the ice, while also staying committed to his mental health. He believes that taking care of oneself mentally and physically is key to success both on and off the ice.
With his courage and resilience in the face of mental health challenges, Slater Koekkoek is truly an inspiration for all of us.