Read a Penn State football player's powerful open letter about his binge-eating.
Penn State kicker Joey Julius is a bad dude.
He's a rare breed of kicker who can nail 40-yard field goals and deliver crushing blows like a linebacker.
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.
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.
"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.
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.