Ohio State University offensive lineman Harry Miller announced Thursday that he is medically retiring from football, citing struggles with his mental health. Miller shared the news in a Twitter post, writing that he may have died by suicide if not for the help he received from the team's coaching staff.
"I would not usually share such information. However, because I have played football, I am no longer afforded the privilege of privacy, so I will share my story briefly before more articles continue to ask, 'What is wrong with Harry Miller,'" he wrote. "That is a good question. It is a good enough question for me not to know the answer, though I have asked it often."
Miller said that he told Ohio State football coach Ryan Day before last year's football season that he intended to die by suicide. Miller said Day connected him with health officials who then provided him support.
"After a few weeks, I tried my luck at football once again, with scars on my wrists and throat," he wrote. "Maybe the scars were hard to see with my wrists taped up. Maybe it was hard to see the scars through the bright colors of the television. Maybe the scars were hard to hear through all the talk shows and interviews. They are hard to see, and they are easy to hide but they sure do hurt. There was a dead man on the television set, but nobody knew it."
The Ohio state junior said he's witnessed people dismiss the severity of mental health issues, adding that he hopes "if somebody's hurt can be taken seriously for once, it can be mine."
"A person like me, who supposedly has the entire world in front of them, can be fully prepared to give up the world entire," he wrote. "This is not an issue reserved for the far and away. It is in our homes. It is in our conversations. It is in the people we love."
Miller thanked Day for allowing him to "find a new way to help others in the program" and said he hopes athletic departments across the country do the same.
"If not for him and the staff, my words would not be a reflection," he said of his coach. "They would be evidence in a post-mortem."
Miller closed the letter by stating that he is "okay" and reminded readers that "there is help, always."
"And so I will love more than I can be hated or laughed at, for I know the people who are sneering need most the love that I was looking for," he said. "The cost of apathy is life, but the price of life is as small an act of kindness. I am a life preserved by the kindness that was offered to me by others when I could not produce kindness for myself."
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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