Offensive lineman Thomas Cole shared the intense personal struggles that had kept him off the UCLA football team in recent months, and announced Saturday that he attempted suicide earlier this year before receiving help for his mental health struggles.
“At first I regretted that I survived my attempt,” Cole wrote on Twitter“But thankfully, thanks to the people at UCLA Hospital, Paradigm residential treatment, and my therapist Meg, I’ve found a much better perspective on my own future.”
Cole, a redshirt freshman who didn’t play last season and was absent from spring training, said he retired from football because “it’s not conducive to my mental health and there’s more to life than the football game.” Cole thanked offensive linemen Benjamin Roy, Garrett DiGiorgio, Noah Pulealii and Taka Mahe and said his teammates brought him joy and laughter during a time of suffering.
“I am eternally grateful for these friendships,” Cole wrote. “I will miss the competition and the football game. But most of all I will miss the people it brought into my life.”
Cole is the second UCLA player to retire in as many months after defense attorney Martell Irby announced he would also be leaving the sport because of mental health issues. In a video he posted to YouTube last month, Irby said he wandered around Los Angeles without his phone for six hours before flying home to San Diego the next day to reconnect with his family, to get support.
Cole said he will continue to cheer for the Bruins and thanked those who have helped him at the school, including coaches, teachers and tutors. He concluded his open letter with words intended to comfort others with similar mental health problems.
“For anyone struggling, you are not alone and you are loved,” Cole wrote. “It’s okay to ask for help. Thank you to my family for being so loving during this learning to live again process.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla/story/2022-07-16/ucla-bruins-thomas-cole-retires-football-mental-health-suicide UCLA Bruins lineman Thomas Cole retires after near suicide