I used to think that the obsessive thoughts and roller-coaster emotions I always felt were just a part of growing up. At about 15 or 16, I realized I might actually have been suffering from depression and anxiety. I continued to brush it off, until my freshman year of college. I was an excited 17-year-old who couldn’t wait to see what my school had in store for me. That ended up being one of the toughest years of my life, mentally. Instead of the coach I thought I was getting, I was welcomed by the complete opposite. He belittled us, downplayed injuries, called us out of our names, and so much more. He blamed our record and performance on us rather than his poor coaching style and skills. During this year, I lost my love for the game, and myself. My confidence and mental health were as low as they could be. Flash forward a few years, I lost a few family members, suffered back-to-back knee surgeries, COVID hit, and my mental health was in the gutter. I really didn’t know how I was going to get out of the hole I was in. Today, my younger self would be so proud of who I am and all I’ve overcome.
What was initially supposed to just be a senior project, has blossomed into something bigger than I imagined. I created SAMBS (@sa.mindbodysoul) with the intention to shed light on the epidemic that is badgering college athletics right now. So many young athletes are struggling from different mental health disorders and either continue to suffer in silence, or go so far as taking their own lives. I want my platform to bring awareness to what is happening, provide a safe haven for players to share their own stories, as well as provide resources that can help them with the battles they are facing.
It seems that college athletics have lost sight of what is truly important. Yes, these individuals are athletes that bring in revenue to your program, but they are still humans. They have emotions and feelings that deserve to be heard, understood, and addressed. I’m blessed to be able to share my story with those that resonate or find it inspiring. For so long, I was silent about the battles I was facing, but I realized I owed myself more. Not anyone else, but myself. I’m stronger than everything I have been through, and those battles don’t define me. That is the message I want other student-athletes to understand. You’re bigger and stronger than the battles you’re facing.