In high school I lost my dad to colon cancer. While my friends were enjoying themselves, I was constantly sad, afraid, and angry.
On the ice I could forget all my troubles. There were no racing thoughts, no one asking, “How are you?” and there were no tears. After high school I came to RIT to play the sport my dad and I loved. I wanted to make him proud.
In my freshman year I suffered a concussion and had to stop playing. Suddenly my outlet for stress and emotions was gone. Going to practice became a chore and being around people was exhausting. I no longer had a way to clear my head. I was lost.
The support of my teammates meant the world to me, but what truly helped was talking to a therapist. With him I was able to express my feelings and emotions, and develop coping skills off the ice. Eventually I started to believe that everything really would be OK.
Looking back, I can’t believe how far I have come. There are still ups and downs but the difference is now I know I can get through the bad days. I’ve come through a difficult time and become stronger. I know my dad would be proud of me.