121 : Keeping Your Mental Health On Track w/ Vince Sonson

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Whether you know it or not, odds are that you or some of your teammates have battled or are still battling depression.  Did you know that only 1 of 10 student-athletes dealing with a mental health issue will seek professional help? This means that 90% of cases go untreated (Healthy Bodies Study 2014).  It is also important to note that 51% of athletes who sustained an injury reported mild-to-severe depression symptoms (Leddy MH, Lambert MJ, and Ogles BM, in Res. Q. Exerc. Sport).  Maybe this doesn't surprise you given the stigma surrounding mental health in and athletic culture that encourages the suppression of pain, feelings and emotions. This week's guest is aiming to put an end to that stigma with the creation of a new smart phone app.


Vince Sonson is the CEO & Founder of Balance Position and struggled with depression as a student-athlete while playing football and baseball at Yale University.  His experience with depression inspired him to launch Balance Position whose mission is to empower student-athletes to achieve and maintain optimal mental wellness so they can perform their best on the field, in the classroom, and in life.  In this episode Vince takes us through how the lessons learned from managing his depression have been packaged in an app that can prevent you and your teammates from going through the same suffering. More talking points from our conversation can be found below:

"If treated in a timely and appropriate way, both physical and mental ailments can be minimized."

"injury is an acute precursor, in a lot of cases, to depression."

  • Vince's personal story of managing depression as a student athlete at Yale University.

  • Why the onset of depress is like a train falling off the tracks.

  • How negative self talk can lead to the wobbles off the track and self doubt.

  • Why injury can be a significant trigger for depression in athletes.

  • Vince takes us through his concussion history and why he believes it was led to the onset of his depression.

  • How the Balance Position app works and how athletes can interact it and keep tabs on their mental health.

  • Vince debunks the stigma of mental health in sports.

  • The similarity between concussions symptoms and symptoms of depression.

  • Other injuries Vince overcame throughout his athletic career:

    • Torn MCL, ACL, dislocated elbow, dislocated shoulder

  • Vince was actually a dual sport athlete at Yale. Vince and one of his baseball teammates recently reunited for a CrossFit workout (below).



  • The moment Vince realized he had a problem.

  • Tips for staying on track when you’re falling off the train.

  • The difference and similarities between mental pain and physical pain.

  • Vince takes us through his decision to transfer to Carnegie Mellon University where he finished out his football career.

  • Why it was different at Carnegie Mellon University.

  • Vince's transition to life after sports and how he got into cycling.

  • The right ay to do CrossFit.

  • How the Balance Position app is helping athletes transition to life after sports.

  • Check out other athlete stories of overcoming depression on Balance Position's Story Wall. You might see some familiar faces... (Matt Dauby & Kara Stroup).

Where can you learn more about Balance Position?

Website | Facebook | Instagram



Download Episode 121 : iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud