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Ohio State football coach Ryan Day and his wife Christina donated $1 million to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine to fund mental health research, per Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch.
Raising awareness about mental health has been a hallmark of Day’s time as the Buckeyes’ head coach, and the money will go toward The Nina and Ryan Day Resilience Fund. He previously helped establish The Christina and Ryan Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness through Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Day told reporters that a major difference between the Resilience Fund and some of his previous work is this will primarily focus on helping college-aged people.
“And certainly that college age, when Nina and I started talking about that, that’s tough, it’s a tough year for a lot of people, a tough stretch for a lot of people,” he said. “They need the resources, they need the help, but then also identifying what those risk factors are, we’d really love to be a part of to get out in front of it.”
Mental health in regards to the Buckeyes football team also took center stage in March when offensive lineman Harry Miller announced his medical retirement from the game.
Harry Miller @h_miller76
“Prior to the season last year, I told Coach Day of my intention to kill myself,” Miller wrote. “He immediately had me in touch with Dr. Candice [Williams] and Dr. [Joshua] Norman, and I received the support I needed.”
Miller also highlighted the support he received from his head coach and the football program that has multiple full-time mental health professionals on staff when he appeared as part of a feature on ESPN’s SportsCenter in June:
College GameDay @CollegeGameDay
For most of Ryan Day’s life, he distanced himself from the pain of his past until a recruiting trip in 2018 forced him to confront it.
Now he and his wife, Nina, are working to normalize treatment surrounding mental health. pic.twitter.com/KJ1AsIAhbM
“Sometimes, it is the matter of life and death,” Miller said. “The structure of having a coach like Coach Day, who’s receptive, and having a staff like the mental health staff and the things that were in place at Ohio State definitely saved my life.”
Day’s father died by suicide when the Ohio State coach was just eight years old.
“I do think, as a leader, when you show vulnerability, then you connect with everyone and you show that is OK,” he previously said. “If I’m sharing my story and willing to share some personal thoughts, then maybe they’ll be more willing to do so.”
He is doing more than just sharing his story, though, and continued to provide financial support on Wednesday.