Tulane talks mental health with student-athletes

You can’t see mental health issues like you can see an ankle sprain. That’s why the Tulane Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), in collaboration with The American SAAC hosted “Wave Strong” Tuesday, bringing Tulane student-athletes together for a frank discussion about mental health awareness.

Tulane Athletics head physician Dr. Gregory Stewart, former Duke University All-American field hockey player Lauren Miller and former New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer were the evening’s guest speakers.

Participants also watched and discussed a TED Talk titled, “Athletes and Mental Health: The Hidden Opponent.”

“I played 10 years, and it was over in one play ... I lost my identity as an athlete.”

Jabari Greer, former NFL athlete

Tulane and 12 other universities in The American Athletic Conference are leading on-campus initiatives to end the stigma surrounding the issue of mental health in college students, specifically college student-athletes.

A goal of SAAC is to help student-athletes manage the stresses associated with daily classes, meetings, homework and exams while balancing a hectic schedule of practices, workouts and travel.

Greer shared his experience as a NFL player and the career-ending knee injury that forced him to find his true identity.

Greer said, “I played 10 years, and it was over in one play. It was all over, and I didn’t know who I was. I lost my identity as an athlete, and I had to find out who I really was. I had to answer, ‘Who am I when it’s all taken away?’ Everyone wants to play forever, but you have to ask, ‘Who am I?’ You’ve got to be able to talk to people about these things.”

Tulane SAAC will continue its support of mental health awareness this week, hosting a Mental Health Night tailgate prior to Tulane volleyball’s match against Temple at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29, at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.