Athletes: Recover & Return to Sport Fast from Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Kenyon NCAA DIII Championships 2014Podium’s Podcast from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology

Conference 2015 – Indianpolis

Erika Carlson is the director of the Excellence in Sport Performance at Erika Carlson sports.  She presented a session designed with Dr. Barbara Walker from the Center for Human Performance, USA – and was gracious enough to provide a very insightful interview into the world of Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD).

Vocal Cord Dysfunction is an affliction in which the athlete’s vocal cords literally close up to the degree that normal respiration is impossible.  It can be frightening when a conditioned swimmer is pulled from the pool, blue in the face, unable to function much less compete.

Most impacted by this phenomena are swimmers, runners, soccer players and other athletes whose aerobic and respiratory demands are significant.  It is also true that these individuals tend to be female more often than male, but share many similar characteristics.  For example, they tend to be very high achievers, perfectionists, and care deeply that they perform extraordinarily well.  These athletes carry a huge stress burden, and if things aren’t going right or their stress load has become overwhelming – they are indeed susceptible to a manifestation of symptoms such as VCD.

In this Podcast, Erika does a beautiful job articulating the who, what, when, why and how of VCD.  She is eloquent and particularly adept at explaining how otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) evaluate, diagnose VCD, and the differences from “exercise induced asthma”.  But what Erika does so well is explain the cooperative and collaborative efforts from speech pathologists and stress management specialists interact in providing effective treatments (including certified sport psychology consultants).

Take a good listen and this Podcast will help you understand and provide a proper referral for those impacted by this condition.

Erika Carlson, M.A., is a Mental Skills Coach and specializes in working with elite youth and collegiate female athletes.  Her work focuses on helping her athletes improve their mental toughness and enjoyment of their sport by empowering her them with mental skills.  She has worked in the field of Applied Sport Psychology since 1998 and is the Founder of her firm, Excellence in Sport Performance.  She provides comprehensive performance enhancement services for athletes through one-on-one consulting, team workshops and state-of-the-art technology.  Erika has been a Leadership Coach for the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy and continues to help youth and collegiate female athletes to discover and fine-tune their leadership skills through her own leadership development program.  In addition, Erika consults with collegiate teams (St. Mary’s, University of California, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, Stanford University, Santa Clara University), youth sport clubs and coaches seeking to learn how to incorporate mental skills into their training.   As a parent of 3 growing athletes, Erika has also experienced the growing need for programming that focuses on how sport parents can develop ideal roles to best support their young athletes.  Erika has worked in every mainstream sport (baseball, softball, basketball, hockey, football (youth and NFL combine athletes), track and field, swimming, gymnastics, acrobatics, golf, equestrian sports, taekwondo, rugby, fitness competition, endurance sports), but specializes in elite female soccer players.

She earned her Masters Degree in Sport Psychology from John F. Kennedy University (JFKU) in 2000 and completed a thesis on the Burnout Syndrome in sports.  She earned a B.S. in Psychology from Colorado State University in 1995.  Following her graduate studies, Erika worked for JFKU as a Supervisor of Graduate Students, and has taught classes including The Psychology of Coaching, Theory and Practice of Sport Camps.  Additionally, Erika was a lecturer at San Jose State University where she taught Stress Management.  Finally, Erika is also a competitive athlete.  She continues to compete as a 30-year veteran equestrian (Show Jumping), is an Ironman 70.3 finisher and seeks to find adventure everyday in sport, business and life.   Erika is the mother of 3.







4 thoughts on “Athletes: Recover & Return to Sport Fast from Vocal Cord Dysfunction

  • December 12, 2015 at 9:34 am

    You have a really nice blog here! I love that it contains so many inspiring things. I look forward to trying out many of your recipes and admiring your photography in the future! :)

  • February 15, 2017 at 5:04 am

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this excellent blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your
    RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new
    updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.

    Talk soon!

    • September 30, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks Brandon,
      I appreciate not only that you like Podium, but you are happy to recommend it to others.
      Stephen Walker

  • September 30, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks Robert. I appreciate your reading us and especially for recommending our site to other readers.
    Stephen Walker


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *