HomeBaseballKansas City Royals Targeting Mental Health With Historic Hire

Kansas City Royals Targeting Mental Health With Historic Hire

Kansas City Royals Targeting Mental Health With Historic Hire

Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise, the Kansas City Royals, have made a history by appointing mental health specialist, Melissa Lambert, making her the Royals’ director of behavioural science and the first person in the role to have a seat in the team’s dugout.

Alongside the manager, bench coach, and new pitching coaches, Lambert’s presence is part of the club’s broader efforts to increase mental health resources for their players and staff.

Lambert will be responsible for meetings with coaches and staff, while also being a port of call for on-field activities, training sessions, and in the dugout during games as a pillar of support for players.

Lambert will also be the first woman on the Major League on-field staff in Royal’s history.

Her appointment marks a pioneering moment for both the prioritisation mental health, and women in sports.

Commenting on the announcement, Royals senior director of behavioural science, Ryan Maid, said: “Melissa has the training, background, experiences to meet players where they’re at based on their needs and wants.”

“When our players need services, whether that be on or off the field, she can provide that. There’s not a lot of people in baseball who can do that,” he said.

Maid initially hired Lambert in 2020 as the assistant director of behavioural science, focusing primarily on the Minor Leagues.

Reflecting on the significance of her appointment, Lambert added: “[For] the current college students coming in, the young girls who can look at this and say, ‘Well, I want to do that someday.’ How do we set the tone and create an environment for the next generation?”

Royals manager and former baseball player, Matt Quatraro, emphasised the value of having someone like Lambert to help players combat external high-intensity pressures during the season, adding: “Some guys just need somebody to talk to, and a lot of guys want to keep those things, whether it’s personal or performance-wise, away from their position coach because that’s a different relationship.”

“Having someone that can be a good listener and have strategies for how to steer them is really important,” he said.

This announcement comes after MLB announced a partnership to simplify fan travel.

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