Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DU Alum Tyler Bozak's Fear Of Flying

(above) DU Alum Tyler Bozak has 4 goals and 7 assists this season in 30 games

From: Toronto Star
by Kevin McGran

Ask Tyler Bozak about the worst part of being a professional athlete and the answer is easy.

The Maple Leafs center absolutely fears flying.

“I just get really nervous,” said the 24-year-old.

“I was never like that when I was little. When I got into high school it became a big fear. It’s not something I enjoy.”

He can’t quite put his finger on how or why he fears it.

“I get sweaty,” said Bozak. “In my mind I still don’t see how it all works. All that weight floating through the air. Just doesn’t sound right.”

His teammates rib him about it, saying things like “that doesn’t sound right” as the plane takes off, just to get a reaction from him.

Bozak said a flight to Long Island, N.Y., last year was the worst because of the turbulence.

“It was raining and windy,” he said. “It was a bad one for me.”

Bozak is far from being alone with this fear in the world of pro sports.

Bozak said the fear doesn’t affect his game, because the team travels the night before it plays and he’s able to calm down.

“Usually with this kind of fear, once they confirm everything is okay, it disappears right away,” said Min Zhou, a professor specializing in emotional fear and anxiety at the University of Toronto. “Our brain circuitry works like that.”

Zhou said the reason some people fear flying and not others is the same reason some are good athletes and not others: We’re all different.

“We know our brain is different. Each component, the makeup of individuals is different,” said Zhou. “Some people are sensitive or do good at some things and not good at other things. Same with fear.”

In the long term, Bozak said he might seek professional help.

“I’m just trying to get over it myself,” said Bozak. “I could see the (therapist) with the team. I hear the same things, all the stats — you’re more likely to get injured going to the airport, but that doesn’t do much for me.

“I used to be a lot worse. I’ve gotten better.”

In the short term, Zhou had a different suggestion.

“Usually, alcohol would help,” said Zhou. “If you drink alcohol, which affects your normal brain function, and you reach a certain point, then the guy doesn’t care anymore.”

5 comments:

du78 said...

Tyler had another assist last night in Leafs 4-1 win over the Oilers.

Anonymous said...

How ironic - I LOVE flying, but I have a fear of #1-getting on ice skates at all, #2-having five 280 pound guys all trying to knock me down while I am on those skates.

Anonymous said...

280 lb hockey players???? And 5 of them??? Huh???

Anonymous said...

I like this therapist, basically: "...just get hammered and let the liquid courage guide you..."

Anonymous said...

I bet he would learn to love flying if he spent some time riding buses in the AHL.