Teen puts his mental health ahead of football career

Teens candor and honesty can open up conversations about mental health in our communities.

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Saw this before I came in today. It’s important.

Y’all know in our communities, we almost never bring up the words “mental” and “health” in the same sentence. So seeing Isaiah Woods on Megyn Kelly Today talk about his own struggles . . . well, it’s important to see this for a few reasons:

  • He’s a young African American man, a football player, at that. In a sport known for it’s hypermasculine aura, it’s refreshing to see this young man acknowledge he needed help.
  • His honesty. He mentions that he attempted suicide twice — almost matter of factly. That he can speak so candidly about his struggle . . . that’s going to help somebody
  • He was willing to give up football to take care of himself. Nuff said.
  • He said he was the happiest he’d ever been. In an age where we so many UNHAPPY endings to mental health stories — either suicide or mass shootings — it’s critical to see someone come out of their issues on the other side with a smile.

Isaiah said he’s resuming his football career at a different university. That’s the only thing that gives me a little pause here: One, he found happiness while he was AWAY from football. Not saying football was the problem, but there’s something to the adage “go with what works.”

But the greater concern for me: It’s well documented the brain trauma that can happen on a football field. I fear — not to be glib — that if he took one too many hits to the helmet, it could undo his progress, his health and happiness.

But in any case, I wish him and anyone else struggling with mental health issues the best. If you’re one of them and you haven’t gotten help yet . . . do.

Isaiah Woods is proof that there is hope on the other side.