Harry Miller, an offensive lineman on Ohio State University’s football team, announced Thursday he was medically retiring in a striking statement in which he discussed how he has thought about taking his own life.
“I would not usually share such information,” his Twitter statement began. “However, because I have played football, I am no longer afforded the privilege of privacy, so I will share my story briefly before more articles continue to ask, ‘What is wrong with Harry Miller?’ That is a good question. It is a good enough question for me not to know the answer, though I have asked it often.”
Miller, who is from Buford, Georgia, said he approached Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day about his mental health struggles last year.
“Prior to the season last year, I told Coach Day of my intention to kill myself,” he wrote.
Miller wrote that he got help and eventually returned to football “with scars on my wrists and throat.” He said those scars may have been hard to see when the team played or when he was interviewed.
“There was a dead man on the television set, but nobody knew it,” he wrote.
“At the time, I would rather be dead than a coward. I’d rather be nothing at all, than have to explain everything that was wrong. I was planning on being reduced to my initials on a back of a helmet. I had seen people seek help before. I had seen the age-old adage of how our generation was softening by the second, but I can tell you my skin was tough. It had to be. But it was not tougher than the sharp metal of my box cutter. And I saw how easy it was for people to dismiss others by talking about how they were just a dumb, college kid who didn’t know anything.”
Miller, who has been named an OSU Scholar-Athlete for his work in the classroom and helped the Buckeyes win the Big Ten Championship and the Sugar Bowl in 2020, wrote that he has a 4.0 GPA in engineering and the future seemed bright.
“A person like me, who supposedly has the entire world in front of them, can be fully prepared to give up the world entire,” he wrote. “This is not an issue reserved for the far and away. It is in our homes. It is in our conversations. It is in the people we love.”
“I am a life preserved by the kindness that was offered to me by others when I could not produce kindness for myself,” he added.
Miller also expressed his appreciation for his coach and the university.
“I am grateful for the infrastructure Coach Day has put in place at Ohio State, and I am grateful that he is letting me find a new way to help others in the program,” he wrote. “I hope athletic departments around the country do the same. If not for him and the staff, my words would not be a reflection. They would be evidence in a post-mortem.”
Following the announcement, Miller received support from across the Buckeye nation.
"It takes uncommon courage to be so vulnerable," director of athletics Gene Smith tweeted. "Thank you for sharing. So proud of you and always here for you!"
"This is bravery and love in human form," wrote Melissa S. Shivers, the school's senior vice president for student life.
Miller’s statement comes after Stanford University women’s soccer captain Katie Meyer took her own life earlier this month, spurring a conversation about what parents need to know about mental health when sending their children to college.
Meyer’s parents, Steve and Gina, said their daughter’s death was a shock to them.
“The last couple days are like a parent’s worst nightmare and you don’t wake up from it," Gina Meyer told TODAY.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.