Navigating College as a Student-Athlete with Narcolepsy

“I have been surprised how understanding and curious people are to learn about narcolepsy.”

— Hunter Canada, 2018 JJNS Recipient

While gearing up to announce the 2021 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship recipients, we recently caught up with 2018 scholarship recipient Hunter Canada. Hunter is a rising senior and baseball player at Brescia University in Kentucky, where he is pursuing a BS in business with a minor in sports management. Today, we share insights from Hunter’s experience and his fantastic interview with The Grind Fitness and Sports Performance.

“As a student-athlete with narcolepsy, some of the challenges I face include being extremely tired before afternoon practices, being too tired to complete homework in the evenings, or feeling so tired that I decide to stay in rather than go out with friends. As frustrating as these struggles can be, I have found ways to prevent drowsiness from getting in the way of enjoying my college experience.

Routines are a must. I find that maintaining consistency allows me to accomplish so much more. For instance, I know I have the most energy in the morning. This is when I complete tasks that require high amounts of energy and focus, such as lifting or working on homework. By checking off two major tasks early in the day, I no longer need to stress about doing them later. I find it satisfying to know that once I finish class and return from baseball practice, my day is complete.

My advice is to have conversations about narcolepsy with the people in your life. I believe we are obligated to act as ambassadors for narcolepsy awareness within our social groups. I have been surprised how understanding and curious people are to learn about narcolepsy. In college, you will find your way and meet some incredible people. When times get hard and you do not think you can succeed, just remember that we are athletes… overcoming obstacles is what we do!”

Watch Hunter’s Interview with The Grind:

About the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship:

Project Sleep’s Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship is a national scholarship program to support students with narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia while also fostering awareness in high school and college settings. Founded by Julie Flygare and the Graham Family in 2014, the program has awarded 126 scholarships in eight years.

About Project Sleep:

Believing in the value of sleep, Project Sleep aims to improve public health by generating awareness about the importance of sleep health and sleep disorders. Project Sleep educates and empowers individuals using events, campaigns and programs to bring people together and talk about sleep as a pillar of health.

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