In October, Texas State hired Emily Cabano to fill the newly created position of a sports psychologist. The hiring of Cabano marks the first time in Texas State athletics history that the program has had full access to a sports psychologist.
This position within the athletics department had been thought about for years and was a priority leading up to the hiring. With the funding finally being available, the program was able to fill the position.
Cabano wants to leave a lasting impact on the athletic community on campus.
"I want to have a positive impact, of course. To decrease the stigma, to increase mental health literacy and really support students to reach their goals,” Cabano said. “High-level athletes experience a greater risk of psychological disorders … they have higher demands at a very specific time in life where mental health becomes important.”
Athletic Director Don Coryell said in a statement that Texas State assessed its need to support the mental well-being of players and coaches and that Cabano will be a valuable resource to the athletics program.
"After many conversations with our coaches, staff and student-athletes, we identified a need to better support the mental well-being within Texas State Athletics. Dr. Cabano is an important piece to that as she gives our student-athletes a dedicated person for counseling and adds to their overall experience," Coryell said in a press release.
Cabano holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Seattle Pacific University and a master's degree in sport and performance psychology from the University of Denver.
Cabano is also a former D1 student-athlete and a former gymnastic coach.
Tracy Shoemake, executive senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator, said Cabano was the right one for the job with her unique blend of past experiences.
"It is something that we wanted for a long time but the funding hasn’t always been available," Shoemake said. "It was a great combination in the fact that she’d been a student-athlete and a coach, and now as a mental health professional, she’s seen it from all sides.”
Baseball head coach Steven Trout recognizes how the pressures of being a student-athlete can affect one's mental health, and said that the hiring of Cabano will be an excellent resource for his team.
“Growing up, being on their own for the first time, going to school trying to keep their grades up and then putting the pressure of being a student-athlete… that’s a lot on their plate,” Trout said. "[Student-athletes] are judged more than the normal students. They’re judged on how they’re doing individually…that’s where the extra stress gets put on them.”
Cabano's job consists of giving mental performance and mental health services such as counseling for depression, anxiety, trauma and personality disorders to individual athletes, groups or teams.
Cabano also works with the Texas State Counseling Center. Not only will she be helping student-athletes, but she will also see the general student population as well.
"Just building relationships with students, coaches, administrators and the counseling staff too, that’s really my favorite part [of the job],” Cabano said. “I really believe that asking for help is an act of courage, so I would encourage them to be courageous."