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Program Helps Athletes Manage Abuse From Sports Bettors 

Published: May 13, 2024

Athletes, coaches, and referees are always under pressure from fans, the media, and critics alike. Now, some dissatisfied sports bettors are adding to the noise and, in some instances, making threats. 

According to an article published by ESPN, Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said that he and his children received threats last season. 

“They got my telephone number and were sending me crazy messages about where I live and my kids and all that stuff,” he told reporters in March of this year. “It brings a distraction to the game that can be difficult for players, coaches, referees, everyone that’s involved in it.” 

When an athlete struggles with their sport, it can affect their whole life. It’s tough to bounce back from an injury or the mental challenges that arise when one’s worth is tied to winning or losing. Any extra pressure from fans who are upset about the outcome of a wager is inappropriate and can add unnecessary stress.

An athlete’s mental health is just as important as their physical health. That’s why The Better Institute developed the Back in the Game program. It’s a sports performance program designed to help athletes set goals, build confidence, and work through adversity. The Institute’s team of experts is providing necessary support for athletes of all ages to improve their mental health and help them prepare for their next challenge.

The Institute also offers counseling, therapy, and valuable resources for people who are experiencing gambling disorders. They are committed to helping individuals “better themselves through innovative practices, professional services, research outcomes, and education.” 

If you’re interested in learning more about The Better Institute or the Back in the Game Program, please visit

Do you find yourself frustrated about the outcomes of your sports wagers or spending more time and money on gambling than you would like? You might want to consider gauging your risk for a gambling disorder. Take the Pause Before You Play Rate Your Risk quiz at — it only takes two minutes. 

If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t hesitate to call Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline. Calls are answered 24/7 by trained, understanding professionals who are there to offer free, confidential support. Call 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741.

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