By Marc Rodriguez / Staff Writer
Student-athletes can suffer from more than just a physical injury such as a torn ACL or UCL. Depression also looms in the heads of the greats.
Katie Meyer, a Stanford Women’s soccer star, stole hearts around the world two years ago when her team won the national championship for NCAA division 1 women’s soccer. A video of her went viral during a shootout in the championship game when she stopped a shot and stared into the crowd and zipped her lips shut.
Just two years later, Meyer was found dead in her dorm. Authorities and her mother ruled it a suicide. As an investigation is still underway, many people are blaming the difficulty of a student athlete’s life for her death.
Being a student-athlete requires more work than the average student. They may have daily weight training, practice, games, and study halls in addition to their class schedules throughout the week. Athletes can become quickly exhausted because of what they are expected to do by their teammates, coaches, schools, and fans. And to be blunt, some athletes can’t handle it.
Missouri Valleys head Athletic Trainer, Vince Fedorowich, has had experience with former athletes on campus, who have searched for help.
“Every single year there is somebody that will approach me, and we go through the process of trying to help people out, in that respect,” he said.
Fedorowich stated that there are other staff members on campus who are experienced in the counseling profession that has helped athletes and students in the past.
“We have two counselors right now that you can go to on campus to provide help,” he said.
Fedorowich is referring to counselors Teresa Ceselski and Tammy Lambrecht, both located at the Malcolm Center on campus.
An article published in, “Sports Health” sent out a survey on student-athlete depression, in which 163 current NCAA Division 1 athletes took part. The study showed that 17% of those current athletes had scores consistent with depression.
Missouri Valley junior baseball player, Koby Linder wasn’t shocked when he heard the results.
“I am not surprised with those results,” he said. “I have seen depressed athletes in my college career and I’m honestly shocked that the number is not higher.”
Linder played ball at the Junior College level and transferred in the fall to play for the Vikings.
“My Junior College was relaxed, and I hadn’t noticed many problems with athletes, but once I came to Mo-Val, I started noticing it a little more as the semester continued,” he said. “A few of my friends have asked to just talk with me after long days of school and practice to get things off their minds.”
Junior softball player, Kim Horsten mentioned that she has been through a rough patch at her Junior College but was able to maintain looking forward once covid had hit.
“A couple days before Covid hit, we were playing in Florida, and I was pitching while being injured,” Horsten said. “Our coach chewed us out after every game and if it weren’t for Covid hitting a couple days later, I would have probably quit playing softball altogether.”
Horsten acknowledged she knew she could get help from counselors, teammates, or coaches, but stated, “I’ve never really asked anyone for help. I normally go through everything I’m dealing with alone.”
Missouri Valley has several resources you can find on campus. If you aren’t a student, or maybe don’t want to get help from people you may know or see, (800)-273-8255 is a national suicide prevention number available for you to call for any help you may need. It is open 24/7 and free of charge to everyone.