+
Noah Melick, mental health, athlete, concussion
Courtesy of Noah Melick

Noah Melick on the soccer field.

Teenagers face mounting pressure to not only perform but to outperform their peers in academics and athletics. Getting to play sports at the collegiate level has been turned into a ceremony that resembles a professional draft. It’s a big deal—being on top secures you cameras and attention and scholarships at the most prestigious universities. We rarely talk about the immense pressure these student athletes face starting at a young age. It’s easy to forget that these athletes don’t pop up overnight. Many have been playing since they could walk without their large toddler heads causing them to tumble over themselves. Elite athletes are created from a combination of natural talent, dedication and enough internal and external pressure to create a diamond.


These superhuman expectations can wreak havoc on the still developing brains of teenagers and young adults, causing anxiety and depression. This year alone there has been an uptick in student athletes dying by suicide. These deaths are occurring in teens and young adults who are at the top of their game playing a sport they likely loved. It's patently clear that the pressure on these students is immense. That’s why when Noah Melick, a University of Wisconsin soccer player, decided to take a step back from a sport he excelled at, his actions garnered support from across America.

Men in red and white soccer uniforms in a huddle

Noah Melick and teammates in a huddle.

Courtesy of Noah Melick

Melick shared in a letter that he posted to Facebook explaining why he was giving up a sport that had secured him a scholarship at the University of Wisconsin. He wrote “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,” he wrote. “It’s not worth the risk.”

The risk to a child’s physical and mental well-being is often forgotten about until an injury occurs. With Melick experiencing multiple concussions, it's clear he had his fair share of physical pain. The star soccer player went on to say “pulling myself from my scholarship and school was the hardest decision of my life but could’ve been one of the smartest decisions I have ever made … because I’m still here.”

Later in the letter, Melick recognizes that it looked like he had everything but he was in a constant state of struggle due to his mental health. He encouraged other student athletes to do what they need to better themselves if they’re hurting or struggling. He continued his letter by saying “mental health is an injury that needs to be treated like any other injury,” and closed his resignation letter by recognizing three college student athletes that died by suicide this year with the reminder that “our identity isn’t our sport.”

Noah Melick open mouth smile, fist pump by his side. White and red soccer uniform

Noah Melick celebrating on the field.

Courtesy of Noah Melick

Melick's letter should serve as a reminder that although these kids are good at the sport they play, they’re still human and, in many cases, still children. Their mental health should come first above all else, because there’s no game or scholarship worth someone’s life. If you’re a parent of a student athlete, this letter should spark a conversation within your family about the seriousness of mental health and ways to address it in a healthy way. These athletes need our support and going on the comments under Noah’s letter, it seems like the support is out there. We just have to acknowledge the hurt.

If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255) or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line: 741741.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

Keep ReadingShow less

Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

Keep ReadingShow less

Sandler's daughters held nothing back.

Clearly the funny gene runs in the Sandler family. Comedy aficionado Adam Sandler just proved it after reading an insanely funny acceptance speech, which was allegedly written by his two teenage daughters— Sunny, 14, and Sadie, 16. It was such a savage roast, one is compelled to not doubt the claim.

The event was the prestigious Gotham Awards in New York, where Sandler was set to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award. Michelle Williams and the late Sidney Poitier were also honored, just to give you an idea as to how highbrow this event was.

But did that stop Sandler’s daughter from going all out? It did not. They were hilariously ruthless.

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Think all cats are the same? These pictures prove they each have their own personality

Photographer Nils Jacobi shows how cats aren't nearly as aloof as one might think.

All images used with Nils Jacobi's permission. @furryfritz/Instagram

Catographer purrfectly captures cats' purrsonalities.

People often mistakingly attribute a singular personality to cats—usually the words "aloof" or "snobby" are used to describe them. At best, they might be given the "evil genius" label. But in actuality, no two cats are alike. Each has their own distinct ways of being, whether that’s silly, sophisticated, affectionate, downright diabolical or somewhere in between.

This photographer has the pictures to prove it.

Nils Jacobi, better known online as furryfritz, the catographer, has photographed literally thousands upon thousands of cats—from Maine coons who look like they should be in a perfume ad to tabbies in full-on derp mode.
Keep ReadingShow less