The sports world was rocked yesterday w the news of another suicide – this time a 25 yr old from the AVP, Eric Zaun. He’d been named Rookie of the Year in 2017.
Eric was described by the AVP & fellow players as – outgoing, w a gregarious personality, & a popular fixture on the tour. In fact in his last social media post, he wrote: “June is gonna be a good month.” You look at the guy, 6’-3”, a great looking dude, top league in the world, whole life ahead of him, & you wonder – Why??
We hear about athlete MH & athlete suicides more than most. Why? Bc of how high profile their platforms are & how public their personas are. Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, Michael Phelps, Josh Gordon – those are just SOME recent ones. But they make headlines bc we know the names.
With each athlete story “reveal” – the leagues talk about it, the teams talk about it, the trade publications talk about it. And, the players talk about it on their personal accounts (as do their teammates, offering support). That’s a lot of chatter & eyeballs. That’s also a lot of focus on a particular industry. Imagine we heard the same every time we lost a lawyer? A doctor? A janitor?
This issue is NOT an athlete-only or even an athlete-focused one…nor is it a celebrity-only one. It’s a societal issue. There are hundreds of thousands of ppl we lose globally, each yr where the backdrop is the same: fun, outgoing, life of the party & “you never would have known.” How do we know that? Bc we lose 1 mill a year to suicide & a large percentage never even sought help.
As we mourn Eric’s loss, it’s important to do so respectfully, but to also do so in a way that highlights how stories of athlete/celeb MH complications are only a piece of a greater societal puzzle.
This is NOT a “them” issue. It’s a US one. You can only hear so many stories until you realize, this is affecting everyone, all backgrounds, all careers. We must attack this together & cut the BS bucketing.