Chantal Da Silva
A #studentathlete from the #UniversityofWisconsin-Madison died by #suicide, her family said.
#SarahShulze, a star runner on the women’s track and field and cross-country teams at the university, died earlier this month at age 21.
In a statement posted April 15 to a website dedicated to her life, her family said she had died just two days before on April 13.
“Sarah took her own life,” the statement said. “Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of every day life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment.”
Her family said they had been left “shocked and grief stricken” by Shulze’s death. “Above all other things, Sarah was a power for good in the world,” they said.
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Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
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Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
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In a separate statement posted to the #UniversityofWisconsin-Madison’s Badgers Twitter account, the #school said its athletics community had been left “heartbroken” by Shulze’s passing.
“Sarah was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, teammate and Badger #studentathlete,” the #school said. “We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to Sarah’s family, friends and Badger teammates during this extraordinarily difficult time.”
#Suicide is the second leading cause of death for #college #students, according to the #AmericanFoundationofSuicidePrevention. In 2020, it was among the top nine leading causes of death for people ages 10-64 and was the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10-14 and 25-34, according to data from the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention.
Just last month, the parents of the star goalkeeper on #StanfordUniversity’s women’s #soccer team announced that their daughter, #KatieMeyer, had died by #suicide.
Meyer, 22, was from Newbury Park, California, and had been studying as an international relations major and history minor.
In an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” show, Meyer’s mother, Gina, said there had been “no red flags” prior to her daughter’s death. “She was excited. She had a lot on her plate. She had a lot going on. But she was, she was happy. She was in great spirits,” she said.
Shulze, who was from Oak Park, California, also appeared to have a promising future, earning All-Big Ten honors in 2020 and 2021 for cross-country and in 2021 for track, according to her profile on the university’s athletics page.
She had initially made her mark as an #athlete in #highschool, eventually competing in national and state level events, her family said.
They said she had received a scholarship to race for the #UniversityofWisconsin-Madison, which was “an ongoing source of pride for Sarah as she entered her third season with the team.”
In addition to being a track star, Shulze’s family said, she was also a member of the #studentathlete council at her university and had interned at the Wisconsin state Legislature. She had also volunteered as a poll worker for the 2020 presidential election. “These experiences helped develop her deep love for politics, social causes and women’s rights,” they said.
“Sarah regarded herself as a champion for all women, as did the many family members, friends, #students and #athletes who surrounded her,” they said.
In the wake of her death, Shulze’s family has set up the Sarah Shulze Foundation, which they said would help other #studentathletes and support a number of causes she was passionate about, including women’s rights and #mentalhealth.
Shulze’s family said a service would be held in Westlake Village, California, on May 2.
If you or someone you know is at risk of #suicide, please call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.