Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Great Play: NFLs Brandon Marshall Reveals Disorder

Brandon Marshall, who seemed to be just another example of pro athletes with off the field issues, recently revealed he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD. Besides explaining some of his actions, the revelation means a lot more - to him and to others, especially those with BPD or other disorders.

Per the National Institute of Health, BPD is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This does go to explain some of Marshall's issues which I won't get into here but a symptom is that their 'interests and values may change rapidly' and one of his instances definitly falls into the symptom of 'frequent displays of inappropriate anger'. When you are in the spotlight of pro sports and have the resources of a pro athlete with all the people coming at you for various things, I can see how this could quickly escalate into the problems many pros have.


Unfortunately what usually happens to athletes is they either ignore symptoms or if diagnosed keep it hidden. You see, there is a stigma among athletes that they do not want to reveal problems, either physical or mental, as they think it will give their opponents an edge. Maybe they will figure out how to use it to their advantage, or simply see it as a a sign of weakness. By revealing BPD he could maye gain some points of respect back from fans to explain his off the field issues, but he also serves as an inspiration for other athletes and regular people that they can be public about their disorders. And in his case, from his words in the ESPN story, I think it may just make him a better athlete and give him an edge versus giving his opponents one.

It seems that often extreme abilities can often come with extreme disabilities in the human body and mind, so it makes me wonder with many of these athletes if their physical gifts are not offset by mental disorders. We do hear of some of them, but how many more go un-diagnosed - or if diagnosed covered up. Do the athletes do themselves - and others that may have the same disorder - a disservice by hiding it? Would we be more likely to see them as real human beings if we knew of their issues? Would those with the same disorder gain increased self-image and get new goals by seeing someone like them has succeeded at such a high level? Who is to say, but it can't hurt.

In this instance I score Mr. Marshall as a complete Well-Met man showing in this one case all the values of the code: Well-Applied, Well-Considered, Well-Meaning, and Well-Trusted - or Decision, Compassion, Enterprise, and Sincerity.