Athlete Mental Health


Alison Miller, Staff Writer

Trigger warning: mentions of suicide, suicidal ideologies and mental health. In recent years, one of the most dangerous threats of life in collegiate athletes has been at an all-time high: mental health and suicide.  In May of 2020, a survey taken by 37,000 collegiate athletes participating in NCAA athletics showed that mental health concerns were 150-250% higher than in past years. This statistic has been proven by the total of 5 athletes that have committed suicide since March.  “Sarah Shulze, Katie Meyer, Jayden Hill, Robert Martin and Lauren Bernett all passed away during March and April this year,” states ABC Channel 6 News. 

One of the most wide-spread tragedies was the death of Stanford Women’s Soccer goalie Katie Meyer. She appeared to have everything going for her, but deep down, depression, and “potential disciplinary action” from Stanford was weighing down on her behind the scenes. 

Furthermore, Harry Miller, an offensive lineman for the Ohio State football team, has decided to medically retire from football to focus on his mental health. His coach, Ryan Day had this to say to Miller regarding his retirement: “You’re very vulnerable when you do something like this. The fact that you’re a football player, somebody who is 6’5, 320 pounds, valedictorian of his high school, you think everything is real easy. It’s not that way. There’s a lot that goes with that.” Ryan Day’s late father passed away from suicide, which has made him an absolute advocate for his athletes’ mental health. 

Even high school athletes have spoken out about their struggles with mental health. @maisiejesse on Instagram states, “Although I am not playing at the collegiate level yet, I have experienced the challenges that athletes at any level face, and that humans in general face. Mental health is not just something you repost on your story, it’s a very real issue in the world today that affects nearly everyone.” Maisie attends Sandra Day O’Connor High School and plays volleyball at the varsity level. 

In conclusion, more and more athletes each week are speaking out about their struggles with mental health, and bringing their struggles with mental health to the light. This is a sign for school administrations, colleges, high school athletic departments, and all of the sports world to be more aware of the mental toll sports can take on developing brains, or even adults themselves.