After the Play Ends: Grace Cosgrove


Anya Olson, Staff Writer

The media is a resource that positively or negatively impacts collegiate athletes. For Grace Cosgrove, looking back and reflecting on the impact the media has had on her athletically is necessary to build a better relationship with the media. 

“The media is the biggest blessing and curse,” said Cosgrove. “I love keeping up with old friends, but it has hurt my perception of my body image and confidence.” 

Grace Cosgrove will graduate from Arcadia University in May 2023 as a Division III collegiate soccer player and communications major. During Grace’s collegiate career, she has noticed the dangers that social media presents to athletes. 

“I noticed that I was seeing other athletes and girls working out and comparing myself to how they looked,” said Cosgrove. “I was becoming obsessed in an unhealthy way.” 

Cosgrove has played soccer since the age of 4. She reflects on the media’s negativity toward female athletes in hopes of offering wisdom and advice to those struggling. 

“It’s easy to look at videos and wonder why you aren’t lifting as much weight as someone else,” said Cosgrove. “But it’s important to remember that these people aren’t posting to make you feel bad about yourself.” 

Cosgrove has struggled with the negative impacts of the media since the Covid-19 lockdown, which included a lot of downtime scrolling through her social media apps. 

“During quarantine, all I was doing was going on my phone and watching workout videos,” said Cosgrove. “My mental health was affected by the media, and it got so bad I had to delete social media off my phone.” 

Since social media is prevalent in everyday life, knowing when to step away can become difficult. It’s important to remember that the media isn’t realistic and that putting your phone down and stepping okay is okay.

“It’s not realistic to compare yourself to people you see in the media,” said Cosgrove, “Everyone has a different body type and genetics, so comparing yourself to someone else’s journey isn’t realistic or healthy.” 

Cosgrove can learn and grow from her negative experience with the media. Throughout her collegiate career, she has worked to develop a healthier relationship with social media that will last after her athletic career. 

“I’m definitely better than I used to be, but it’s still a learning curve,” said Cosgrove. “It’s important to know when to put your phone down and understand that it’s completely okay.”

Along with negative aspects, the media can also be used as a positive resource.

“I get all my workouts from athletes I find on social media,” said Cosgrove. “And now I follow a lot of girls with similar body types as mine, so I feel better when they come up on my phone.” 

While the media can be seen as purely negative, it offers many positive attributions to its users. The media can connect individuals working towards similar goals with similar body types. 

Understanding when the media can become too negative to handle is necessary. For a current or newly retired athlete taking a step back from the media may be the mental health break one needs. 

To learn more about Grace Cosgrove’s journey, click the link to her YouTube Zoom series episode.


About the author

Anya Olson is a senior mass communications student in her final semester. For her capstone she has created a Zoom series titled “After the Play Ends: Hanging the Cleats up”. Every week Anya interviews retired athletes and discusses the struggles they’ve faced after their sport ends. “After the Play Ends” is intended to be used as a resource for current athletes who may be struggling with similar topics. For full Zoom series episodes visit this link. For more information on Anya’s capstone check out her capstone Instagram @anyamariemedia