“I have been dreading this day for some time now, and it’s finally time to take the burden off my shoulders,” writes Noah Melick, a senior at The University of Wisconsin, Madison and starting player on the Varsity Men’s soccer team.
“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 I have ever made. Because I am still here.
To my brothers, my teammates, my friends, coaches and my family, I can’t thank you enough. To Wisconsin, specifically my trainer Jordon, my doctor and my concussion specialist, you three got me through times of uncertainty. And I can’t thank you enough.
I want to challenge other student athletes who are hurt, who are struggling to do what you need 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 decisions 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 more now than it ever has. Mental health is an injury that needs to be treated like any other injury. Stop putting it aside.
It is time for people to come to the realization that we are people too. Our identity isn’t our sport.
Rest In Peace:
- Sarah Schulze, University of Wisconsin
- Katie Meyer, Stanford University
- Lauren Bernett, James Madison University”
Noah is an inspiration to students and athletes who need to hear his message. His father Dan shared his pride:
“My son has hung them up. I have known of his struggles. We have always talked and been open with each other but did not know how deep it really was. He has had this bottled up for to long. We can breath a sigh of relief that this is off his shoulders.
I share this with you as a proud parent and to encourage you to have open conversations with your kids (I’m sure you do) and as hard and is and the farthest thought from all us talk about the Stigma with your kids. You never know. Proud Dad:)”
More Great Reading: