I am an athlete counselor on the Courage First Athlete Helpline, as well as a crisis counselor with Childhelp’s National Child Abuse Hotline. I am also a former soccer player and coach. Over the years, I have spent time speaking in schools and working with and volunteering in communities affected by abuse. To be thinking I’d be alive and in this position to share my courage, strength, and hope with others continues to boggle my mind daily. From the ages of 6-11, I endured sexual abuse at the hands of an esteemed soccer coach, which I ultimately ended up sharing with a teacher out of a place of sheer desperation and hopelessness. This teacher found the number to Childhelp's National Child Abuse Hotline, and a call was made that I can honestly say saved my life. The goal and motto of Childhelp’s founders "All Who Enter Here Will Find Love" is more than just a saying. I can say that when I was connected with help through the assistance of Childhelp, it was truly the first time in my life that I felt that kind of love. I was seen, heard, and believed, and it was the catalyst for my continued healing and how I came to not only survive, but thrive, and become a functional adult with the great opportunity to give back to those just like me. That experience gave me the courage to say “no” – no more to the abuse and what perpetuates the abuse. But it also gave me the courage to say “yes” – yes to my own healing and yes to dedicating my life to helping others heal and find their safety again.
On October 14th, 2022, Childhelp, in partnership with the Foundation for Global Sports, launched a brand-new initiative in the Courage First Athlete Helpline. The mission of this helpline is to assist and support athletes, parents, coaches, and sports communities who are concerned about emotional, physical and sexual abuse, by offering confidential support and resources, through calls, text, and online chat Monday through Friday 12-8pm PST. Courage First’s team consists of athlete-centered counselors, so when a help-seeker reaches out, they will not only be speaking with someone who has knowledge of abuse and the sports community at large, but they can take comfort in knowing that there are counselors on the other side who “get it.” Each individual we speak with daily is at their most vulnerable state in life, and each call, text, or chat has the ability to change someone's life - and give them hope that they, too, deserve more than what's happened to them. You are not alone. What I would like to say is if you have witnessed or suspect abuse in the life of a young athlete, you are in the unique and powerful position of being able to intervene and perhaps prevent further harm. An abuser’s best friend is silence, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. I can state personally that taking that step could make all the difference in someone's life. Whether you seek the courage to make a call for yourself, the courage to help another, or the courage to continue healing as a survivor, myself and other counselors are here to support your journey every step of the way. You may call or text The Courage First Athlete Helpline by dialing 1-888-279-1026, or you may visit www.athletehelpline.org to chat or find out more information.
Athlete Counselor on the Courage First Athlete Helpline