I have been dreading this day for some time now, and it’s finally time to take the burden off my shoulders. After unimaginable concussions that left me disabled for a while, which led to mental health scares that could’ve taken my life, I have finally decided to hang em up. It is not worth the risk. Pulling myself from my scholarship and school was the hardest decision of my life but could have been one of the smartest decisions that I have ever made. Because I am still here.
To my brothers, my teammates, my friends, my coach, and to my family, I can’t thank you enough. Everyone one of you has a special place in my heart. To Wisconsin, specifically my trainer Jordan, my doctor, and my concussion specialist, you three got me through times of uncertainty. And I can’t thank that enough from you guys.
I want to challenge other student athletes who are hurt, who are struggling, to do what you need to do to better yourself. It is your life, it is your health, it is your well-being, and you know that best. Never in my life did I think I would get rewarded with the scholarship I had, let alone to the University of Wisconsin, let alone even go to college.
I say that because I want others to understand that I pulled myself from a situation that looked like I had everything, that looked like I was living the absolute life that anybody wished upon. But in reality, I was never not struggling.
So with that, I want to encourage other student athletes to understand that you come first and that is the most important part. I want every student athlete to understand the importance of yourself. Because Without Yourself There Is No Life. You matter.
Decisions are meant to be tough, it’s what life is about. But a decision to leave a certain situation to better yourself should not be tough. It should be normal, but in today’s society, it is not normal and that is what student athletes are holding back on.
Normalize the conversation, normalize people’s feelings. Because it matters now more than it ever has. Mental health is an injury that needs to be treated like any other injury. Stop putting it aside.
It’s time for everybody to come to realization that we are people too. Our identity isn’t our sport.
Rest In Peace:
Sarah Schulze, University of Wisconsin <3
Katie Meyer, Stanford University
Lauren Bernett, James Madison University