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Suicides among young athletes studied

Hazing is one smaller reason.  Hank Nuwer

Safesports Act

College student athletes, once seen as the pinnacle of health and vitality, are facing a troubling crisis – a startling rise in suicide rates.

A new analysis of data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reveals that the number of suicides among this population has doubled over the past 20 years, making it the second leading cause of death after accidents.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, paint a sobering picture. Between 2002 and 2022, a total of 1,102 NCAA athletes passed away, with 128 (11.5%) of those deaths attributed to suicide. The majority of the victims were male (77%), with an average age of 20 years old, and over half (59%) were White.

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“Athletes may also experience harassment and abuse within their sport, including psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, hazing and cyberbullying from the public and members of their team including peer athletes, coaches and members of the entourage,” the researchers add, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach to addressing the unique challenges faced by this population.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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