Read a Penn State football player's powerful open letter about his binge-eating.

Penn State kicker Joey Julius is a bad dude.

Photo by Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times, via AP.

He's a rare breed of kicker who can nail 40-yard field goals and deliver crushing blows like a linebacker.

Yes, that's the kicker making the tackle. GIF via Big 10 Network.


But at 5' 10" and around 270 pounds, Julius is sometimes, unfortunately, better known for his weight than what he can do on the football field.

Photo by Icon Sportswire via AP Images.

You know what? There's nothing wrong with his body. It's obviously not holding him back from pummeling would-be kick returners or booming long field goals.

Still, Julius hasn't always been at peace with the way he looks. Behind the scenes, he's been fighting an internal battle for years.

In a recent Facebook post, Julius talked openly about suffering from a binge-eating disorder.

He wrote:

"After a long consideration of not only myself, my family, and my team I have decided to go public about my absence from the team during spring ball of 2016 and thru out this summer. I was admitted into the McCallum place on may 9th for eating disorders. Due to my increase in not only weight but also depression and anxiety my team physicians started to notice not only a change in my overall happiness but also my performance as a normal human being. Throughout this whole process I learned a lot about myself. I learned that for the last 11 years of my life I have suffered through a disorder known as binge eating disorder."

According to the Mayo Clinic, binge-eating disorder is marked by "excessive overeating that feels out of control and becomes a regular occurrence." Julius also wrote that he's suffered from periods of severe purging, as well.

The comments below his post were flooded with well-wishes from friends, family, and fans, all applauding his honesty and bravery for sharing his story.

"You are not only courageous Joey but a HUGE inspiration to so many of us that you cannot imagine," one man wrote.

"You probably can't even imagine the number of people you helped with this post. Especially males who struggle with eating disorders and often go undiagnosed because we think this is a 'female' problem," another commenter added.

It's rare to hear men — and high-level athletes, no less — discuss eating disorders. But Julius is definitely not alone.

Photo by Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times via AP.

The NCAA itself writes that athletes and student-athletes can be at high risk for developing eating disorders, especially in high-pressure environments (like, say, being the kicker for a top college football program) or in sports where there's pressure to adhere to a "normal" or "ideal" body type. (For reference, one scouting guide lists the ideal kicker at about 180 pounds.)

That's why it's so important to hear Julius talk openly about what he's going through: so others know that it's safe to come forward or ask for help, and that they'll likely be greeted with more love and support than they can imagine.

In the meantime, Julius is eager to lend a helping hand to anyone facing a similar struggle:

"If anyone and I mean anyone guy or girl is struggling with the the same or anything similar please message me as I will be in immediate contact to help in any way i can to provide information or insight on my struggles and I would love to help."

Read his whole post here, and the next time you tune in to watch Penn State football, you'll have one more reason to root for the badass wearing number 99.

True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via Pexels.com

The Delta Baby Cafe in Sunflower County, Mississippi is providing breastfeeding assistance where it's needed most.

Mississippi has the third lowest rate of breastfeeding in America. Only 70% of infants are ever-breastfed in the state, compared to 84% nationally.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life. However, in Mississippi, less than 40% are still breastfeeding at six months.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We've heard from U.S. intelligence officials for at least four years that other countries are engaging in disinformation campaigns designed to destabilize the U.S. and interfere with our elections. According to a recent New York Times article, there is ample evidence of Russia attempting to push American voters away from Joe Biden and toward Donald Trump via the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, which has created a network of fake user accounts and a website that billed itself as a "global news organization."

The problem isn't just that such disinformation campaigns exist. It's that they get picked up and shared by real people who don't know they're spreading propaganda from Russian state actors. And it's not just pro-Trump content that comes from these accounts. Some fake accounts push far-left propaganda and disinformation in order to skew perceptions of Biden. Sometimes they even share uplifting content to draw people in, while peppering their feeds with fake news or political propaganda.

Most of us read comments and responses on social media, and many of us engage in discussions as well. But how do we know if what we're reading or who we're engaging with is legitimate? It's become vogue to call people who seem to be pushing a certain agenda a "bot," and sometimes that's accurate. What about the accounts that have a real person behind them—a real person who is being paid to publish and push misinformation, conspiracy theories, or far-left or far-right content?

Keep Reading Show less