Student-Athletes and Mental Health


Athletes are raising awareness for mental health. Photo Credit: ToledoLibrary.org

Tim Folliard – Sports Editor

There is a wave of athletes speaking out about mental health. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott made headlines for talking about his mental health struggles that he has recently faced. His struggles stemmed from his mother’s fight with cancer and his brothers’ suicide.

“I obviously got the help I needed and was very open about it. I think that’s why I was fortunate enough to get over it, as not all of us are.” Prescott said.

Student-Athletes at Benedictine are getting involved in this as well through the organization, The Hidden Opponent.

The Hidden Opponent was founded by Victoria Garrick. Victoria gave a TedTalk that highlighted her struggles with mental health while she was a student-athlete at USC. She wants to end the stigma that is tied to mental health issues, especially with athletes.

Their mission is to advocate, educate and support student-athletes who are dealing with mental health issues. This year, they have started Campus Captains where student-athletes can be a part of their organization.

Benedictine has 13 Campus Captains. Those captains are on Track & Field, Softball, Golf, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Lacrosse and Volleyball.

Freshman volleyball player Nate Klimisch is one of those Campus Captains. His motivation for being one is to know how to properly work with teammates who may be facing mental health challenges.

“During high school, some of my teammates suffered from mental health issues. I had to watch them suffer because I was not educated on the topic of mental health in student-athletes.” Klimisch said. “I want to help end the suffering that my teammates were experiencing by providing more resources to people who need them.”

At Benedictine, there are a variety of resources. The athletic training department has Mental Health Counseling services as well as Mental Performance Training from Adler University. The Counseling Center on campus is available to all students.

According to Athletes For Hope, 35% of professional athletes suffer from mental health issues. If you or someone you know are facing any issues relating to mental health, do not be afraid to seek assistance and ask for help.