Player’s suicide inspires Guelph Storm defenceman to take on stereotypes

By Tony Saxon,

Guelph Storm defenceman Garrett McFadden is trying to break down barriers and stereotypes when it comes to how athletes are expected to handle mental health issues.

McFadden, 19, has started McFadden’s Movement, a mental health initiative that will see him connect with local minor hockey teams and athletes and help them prepare and deal with some of the pressures and challenges they face.

“It’s about talking to young athletes, especially ones who are in sports where it’s getting more serious and more competitive,” McFadden said Thursday at the Sleeman Centre.

“It’s about making sure these kids know that the pressures they are going through are normal and that there’s people out there to talk to and there’s people out there they can talk to.”

McFadden said the stereotype is that if a hockey player wants to “make it big” they have to be gritty and not show any weakness.

While you want to play hard and you want to play like you have no weakness, he said, in the end its important to be willing and able to turn to others for help.

“At the end of the day, bottling stuff in and not talking about your feelings and experiences with other people that can relate to you and maybe help you out is something that will have a negative effect on your career, your mental health and the person you become.”

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