Local athletes learn more about mental health

Published: Nov. 8, 2020 at 6:13 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Local football players spent Sunday at Star City Soccer learning how to take care of their mental health while on and off the field. Good Counsel, an agency focused on encouraging mental health awareness, held this event called Motivate the Game.

The owner and creator of Good Counsel, Daniel Brooks, said he wishes he was more aware of his mental health while growing up and playing football. So now, he’s helping young athletes become more aware of their own mental health.

“All I did was pour what I was dealing with onto the football field but I never dealt with it," Brooks said.

A former Franklin County High School and Hampton University football quarterback, Brooks said he didn’t work through the trauma he experienced at a young age until after his football career.

“All this stuff came rushing back, so what Motivate the Game is, is what I didn’t have as an athlete when I was in high school and college, was that coach or that individual that I talked to about what was going on, so I didn’t just carry it with me and run away from it,” he said.

Brooks created the local agency Good Counsel to help young athletes take care of their mental health and Sunday, he led Motivate the Game for around 20 middle and high school football players.

“We recognize that most of our athletes don’t know how to communicate and be self-aware of who they are, so every athlete gets a motivation profile that talks about behavior tendencies and communication style," he said.

The athletes then participated in a Combine - running two 40-yard dashes and two shuttle drills - with celebrity coaches like former Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets NFL player Marcus Dixon.

“It’s all about trying to make sure these guys are mentally prepared. Football is not going to always be there, you’ve got to be prepared for life after ... As athletes, we’ve got to have that mindset, like, I’m going through things, but I can’t be afraid to talk about it," Dixon said

Good Counsel plans to hold another Motivate the Game Football Combine next year.

For more information on Motivate the Game, click here.

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