Hi, My name is Nathan Seprosky and I am a former Division 1 baseball player and current Doctor of Physical Therapy student at The University of Rhode Island. This is my story with stress and anxiety, two words that can affect so many. Although never truly understanding the meaning of these two words at a young age, the older I got, the more I understood the impact they can have on one’s life.
As an athlete, you train year-round for your competitive season which may last a fourth of the entire year. You dedicate so much of your time with two goals in mind — be elite and win championships. Within that competitive season, you are held to a certain standard. Keep your grades up and perform well on the field, all while trying to have somewhat of social life. This standard when not met took a toll on my mental health.
For those of you who know me, I am a perfectionist having high standards for myself and others. This trait oftentimes greatly affected my mental health and athletic ability on the baseball field in college. Some may say that athletes choose to play their designated sport and it is not forced upon them at any given time. But I would also say sports is oftentimes someone’s “escape,” like it was mine.
Athletes may feel they can overcome any slight discrepancies with their mental health by themselves, but unfortunately, this kind of fight cannot be fought alone. Struggling with your mentality is looked at as a sign of weakness (and we can’t show weakness when we are trying to be elite, right?). Wrong. This is the stigma and battle that athletes across the country face within themselves. For me, the greatest competition wasn’t with the people wearing another jersey. The greatest competition was between my ears, in my own head. I was standing in my own way from being elite because I didn’t know how to manage the stress and anxiety.
I share my story to those who feel alone, as I was in your shoes. Athlete or not, my goal is to help raise awareness that it is okay to not be okay, to always speak up as there are people out there who are willing and want to help. I would like to thank my teammates, coaches and everyone within the athletic department at the University of Rhode Island for always making the necessary resources always available to all student-athletes.
On September 11, 2022, I will be partaking in the Newport, Rhode Island Sprint Distance Triathlon in honor of those who face a battle with mental health and those who struggle with anxiety and/or depression and will be taking donations for the ADAA to help #breakthestigma and #triumphoveranxiety within athletes and the general public. Please help me support the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. Thanks so much for your support... and please don't forget to send this page to any friends you think might be interested in donating!
In loving memory of all of those who we have lost including these student-athletes:
Katie Meyer - Stanford University Women’s Soccer
Jayden Hill - Northern Michigan University Women’s T&F
Robert Martin - Binghamton University Men’s T&F
Sarah Shulze - University of Wisconsin Women’s T&F and Cross Country
Lauren Bernett - James Madison University Women’s Softball
In loving memory of my grandmother Katherine A. Orehek.
Fundraising Website Link: https://donate.adaa.org/fundraiser/3931452
Fundraising Instagram Page: @SeproskysTri4ADAA
Personal Instagram: @n_seprosky
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