Regardless of Ohio State’s record on the football field, Ryan Day has already made a commendable impact at the school.
On Sunday morning’s SportsCenter, ESPN ran a piece detailing the head coach’s efforts to destigmatize mental illness and create programs to help students feel comfortable addressing their mental health needs. As part of this initiative, Ohio State added four full-time mental health professionals, including two psychologists, to its athletic department.
In the ESPN profile, former Buckeyes offensive lineman Henry Miller credited Day for helping him through a challenging time. Miller said he had “persuasive suicidal thoughts” in 2021. He reached out to Day, who connected him with a psychologist on Ohio State’s staff.
“The things that were in place at Ohio State definitely saved my life,” Miller said.
Twitter users applauded Day for understanding that some things are far more important than football.
Day and his wife, Christina Day, also established a fund to gather resources and raise awareness for mental wellness. Upon doing so, he began to openly discuss his own experiences. Day’s father, Raymond, died by suicide when he was eight.
College football doesn’t often foster an environment where players feel comfortable expressing any vulnerability. Day has done a tremendous job leading by example.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.