+
upworthy
Health

Student athlete pens powerful letter about mental health as he hangs up his cleats

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.

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?

Keep ReadingShow less
Modern Families

‘Hard pill to swallow’: Mom shares why some adult children don’t talk to their parents

"How your kids treat you when they are no longer in need of food and shelter, is a direct reflection of how you made them feel when they needed you to survive."

Parent and child deal with the pain of estrangement.

Even though humans are biologically hard-wired to form strong attachments to our parents, in many cases, these relationships become estranged as the children age. A recent poll found that nearly 1 in 4 adults are estranged from their families.

Six percent are estranged from their mothers and 26% have no contact with their fathers. It’s believed that these days, more children are comfortable distancing themselves from their parents because it’s good for their mental health.

“I think it relates to this new desire to have healthy relationships,” Rin Reczek, a sociology professor at the Ohio State University, said, according to The Hill. “There might be some cultural shifts around people being allowed to choose who is in your family. And that can include not choosing to have the person who raised you be in your family.”

Keep ReadingShow less

It's rare enough to capture one antler being shed

For those not well versed in moose facts, the shedding of antlers is normally a fairly lengthy process. It happens only once a year after mating season and usually consists of a moose losing one antler at a time.

It’s incredibly rare for a bull moose to lose both at the same time—and even more rare that someone would actually catch it on film.

That’s why shed hunter (yes, that’s a real term) and woodsman Derek Burgoyne calls his footage of the phenomenon a “one-in-a-million” shot.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Loretta Lynn's granddaughter wows 'American Idol' judges with raw original song

Emmy Russell's original song "Skinny," featuring lyrics about body image and eating disorders, nearly brought everyone to tears.

America Idol/Youtube, Promotional image of Loretta Lynn/Wikipedia

Emmy Russell (left) and her grandmother Loretta Lynn (right)

Emmy Russell, granddaughter of country music icon Loretta Lynn, proved that she was an artist in her own right during a recent episode of “American Idol.”

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Nashville auditioned in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the show's Feb. 25 episode, during which she opened up about wanting to not live in her grandmother’s shadow.

"She's one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me she's just Grandma," she said, adding "I think I am a little timid, and I think it is because I want to own my voice. That's why I want to challenge myself and come out here."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Jimmy Fallon asked his viewers if they've ever been caught red-handed. Here are 15 of the best responses.

You can’t lie about it, you can’t take it back, all you can do is pray for forgiveness.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images


There is nothing worse than being caught in the act when you're up to no good. You can't lie about it, you can't take it back, all you can do is pray for forgiveness.

"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon asked his viewers if they had ever been caught red-handed and their responses on Twitter were hilarious.

Here are 15 of the funniest and/or most embarrassing Tweets.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Her mother doesn't get why she's depressed. So she explains the best way she knows how.

Sabrina Benaim eloquently describes what it's like to be depressed.

Sabrina Benaim's “Explaining My Depression to My Mother."

Sabrina Benaim's “Explaining My Depression to My Mother" is pretty powerful on its own.

But, in it, her mother exhibits some of the most common misconceptions about depression, and I'd like to point out three of them here.
Keep ReadingShow less