Dak Prescott has been lighting up defenses on the field this season but he’s also sparked plenty of conversation off of it as well.
The Dallas Cowboys star quarterback was very vocal about the anxiety and depression that he has battled after the death of his brother by suicide and his mother’s fight with cancer. Prescott wanted to speak out and let people know that it is more common than you think.
“I think that is important to be vulnerable, to be genuine and to be transparent,” Prescott said in an NFL interview. “That goes a long way when you are a leader and your voice is being heard by so many and you can inspire.”
Prescott has a lot to handle in his day-time job. The role of a starting quarterback comes with a laundry list of tasks each and every day that take hours and hours of your day. Prescott had to learn to manage those tasks while dealing with the emotional tole he faced in his personal life.
“I think it’s huge to get help. And it saves lives. And I obviously got the help that I needed and was very open about it. I think that’s why I was fortunate enough to get over it, as not all of us are.”
The comments he made were met with mostly positive regards and support from all players around the National Football League and in sports in general. Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst went out of his way after a Falcons-Cowboys game this season.
He told Prescott, “Hey, I’ve got a lot of respect for what you did, came out and talked about. Me and my mom have a foundation about suicide prevention. Respect the hell out of you for talking about it, man.”
The two immediately made plans to collaborate on something this offseason that supports those who struggle with their own mental health. At the end of their exchange, Dak offered to help out however he could.
Hurst’s foundation is called the “Hayden Hurst Family Foundation” and its mission is to “raise awareness of mental health issues in children and adolescents by funding mental health services and programs through donations and fundraising events.”
Two athletes on the biggest stage are now lobbying for all people who suffer from mental illness and who struggle with their own mental health. After their exchange on the field after the game, Prescott said that his team was already making plans to expedite the process of them working together.
“I’m excited to work with him,” Prescott said. “We’ve talked since. Excited in the offseason for us to get something going. Our teams have already started making steps to do that while we’re in the midst of the season.”
The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention estimates that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and that in 2018, there were 1.4 million suicide attempts amongst Americans.
Hurst and Prescott are sending a message that obviously needs to be heard and are working hard to make the country a better place by being more than just an athlete.