Roanoke sports psychologist discusses Simone Biles, mental health

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - In light of Simone Biles’ Olympic withdrawal, Roanoke sports psychologist Dr. John Heil is backing her decision.

Heil served as a psychology consultant for the U.S. fencing team at three Olympic games.

He says if Biles’ mind and body are not ready to compete, it’s not worth the risk of serious head or spinal cord injuries.

“At a fundamental level, we recognize her as one of the greatest athletes of all time – someone who really understands what her mind and body is capable of, and she knows it best – and if she says she’s not ready to do it, we should trust that as true, because she is the expert,” said Heil.

Heil adds society is becoming much more interested in and accepting of mental health concerns.

He believes people are far more willing to support Biles’ decision now than in the past.

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