Link – Athlete suicide shines spotlight on mental health education in young people

This story is tragic. An 18 year old potential Olympic athlete takes her own life because no one noticed she might need help with the pressure?

“She had been selected for the British team for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand in August and was tipped to qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

However, she missed a flight to join the GB squad for training and disappeared from the French ski resort of Les Gets shortly afterwards. It later emerged that she took her own life on her 18th birthday.

“Ellie wanted to be the best and not let anybody down,” Ellie’s dad, Tony, said speaking to BBC South East. “Unfortunately it all came about from missing a flight which then meant she didn’t go training with the GB squad.

“She felt she’d let them down, felt she’d let me down and just tragically it just takes one silly little thing like that to tip someone over the edge, because there’s a lot of pressure on children.”

Citing the pressure Ellie was under, and revealing a pre-existing mental health issue, her father added: “Mental health awareness needs to be really looked at and made more public.”

Mr Soutter is absolutely right, but the issue is more fundamental than just awareness. Ellie would have undoubtedly had many hundreds of hours of coaching to prepare herself physically for her career and competitions, so why was her mental health not addressed in the same way? “

Let’s hope that Elle Soutter’s death will provide a lesson for not just the sports world, but all of us.


Link – Maryland Terrapins football culture toxic coach DJ Durkin

A kid died in May after a workout, and while the investigation is ongoing, if even half of the stuff in this story is true, Maryland should fire everybody, and start settlement talks with the family.

“I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached there.”
Former Maryland staff member”

The bullying, the working out well past the point of exhaustion, the humiliation, all of it is something we just shouldn’t tolerate. The fact that their head coach spent time working under such luminaries as Harbough and Meyer should make all of us question what goes on in big-time college football.

There was a time when this was just the way things were done by football coaches. Now we know better. We have much better information about how to keep these guys healthy, and the damage that can be done when you don’t. If an offensive lineman collapsed during a sprint and the trainer’s reaction was to tell other players to “drag his ass across the field” instead of immediately getting medical treatment? There shouldn’t be anything left of that staff/administration.

It’ a game. No one should have to die to prepare to play it.


Link – Urban Meyer placed on administrative leave, new acting coach named

I wouldn’t be surprised if he is out by the end of the week. Ohio State is under fire for possible sexual misconduct of team doctors going back years, and now this? If he knew about what happened in 2015 with Zach Smith and his wife, and went to Big Ten Media Day and openly lied about it, the optics of keeping him are just horrible.

Yes, hiding domestic violence among your coaching staff is worse than hiding free tattoos, but I’m not going to make that comparison. Jim Tressell wasn’t fired because he hid tattoos, he was fired because doing so was a direct violation of NCAA rules. Hiding domestic abuse charges against your assistant coach isn’t, but it’s a PR disaster that OSU, and the NCAA, doesn’t want.

On the other hand, replacing him with Greg Schiano will be an even worse PR disaster. Please no.

Urban Meyer placed on administrative leave, new acting coach named


Link – Qatar 2022 bid team ‘sabotaged World Cup rivals’

First, the Qatar World Cup is just the “disaster” that keeps on giving for FIFA public relations. Second, maybe we should just get used to this being the norm for anything, elections, WC and Olympic bids, etc.

The claims came from an anonymous whistleblower, who alleged to the Sunday Times that a smear campaign had been orchestrated on behalf of Qatar’s bid committee, which included paying a professor $9,000 (£6,900) to write a damning report on the economic cost of a US World Cup, recruiting journalists and bloggers to promote negative stories in the US, Australian and international media, and organising grassroots protests at rugby matches in Australia, to give Fifa the impression of a lack of support for bids in their home countries.


Link – CTE found in Tyler Hilinski before suicide: Researcher reacts

There is a lot to think about in this article, but this really speaks to what football may find itself dealing with very soon.

“I do think the moment we have an accurate diagnostic test will be a moment of reckoning for the game. Because you can imagine people seem to be comfortable and cool with at least one out of 10 NFL players having this disease, which is what we’ve seen over the last 10 years, that one out of 10 who died have had it. It’s actually a much higher percentage in the last five years. We’re comfortable with adults getting it. But we’re not going to be comfortable with more kids getting it. If you put a high school team through the test and you find out it’s more than one kid, who’s a minor, who has this disease already, people may not be able to sign their children up anymore. Who’s going to let them play?

I look at it this way. There’s still nearly one out of five Americans who smoke, despite the fact they know it’s got a good chance of accelerating their death. So there always will be people that are just going to ignore the science and say it’s worth it and it’s my choice. But I also get the sense that once we can diagnose this and get an idea of the scope there’s going to be a scramble. And there’s a decent chance that no one wants to go back on that field who doesn’t need the money, that isn’t being paid. And that would shut down all but the professional leagues.”

And, lest you think this is only a football problem, I suggest to you that it will only be round one. Hockey, and even soccer, may find themselves dealing with similar issues in the future.

Go read the whole article though, I think there’s plenty in it beyond the usual fear mongering, especially looking at the Hilinski case and the mental health effects that concussions have. We don’t know enough about anxiety and depression as it is, adding in CTE or even just a concussion as another possible factor is just another area we do not understand, but need to spend a lot more time and money researching.

A diagnostic tool that could detect CTE in a living patient is going to change how we look at head injuries, and sports. I’m not sure what it’ll look like after that.

Photo by Lorie Shaull