11:03 AM

Ohio State Athletics doubles full-time sport psychology staff

The Ohio State University Department of Athletics has doubled its sport psychology area to include four full-time staff members who will provide increased access to mental health and performance enhancement services to student-athletes competing in all 36 Buckeye varsity sports.

The new counselors are Candice Williams, who formerly worked at The Trust, an organization assisting NFL players transitioning out of the league, and Charron Sumler, who most recently coordinated services for students in crisis at the University of Texas.

Their arrival reinforces the commitment the department has to enhancing access for its student-athletes to mental health professionals. Williams and Sumler will be joined by a third new professional in September: Chelsi Day, former director of counseling and sport psychology at Indiana University. All three will work with Jamey Houle, the lead sport psychologist for Ohio State athletics.

“Increasing the size of our staff is extremely significant in the area of mental health for our student-athletes,” said Houle, an All-American gymnast for Ohio State. “Our sport psychology and counseling staff will be able to provide more consultation, group work and team presentations, and be more involved in performance team meetings as needed.”

Reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues and seeking help is a goal of increased student-athlete access to the counselors and professionals.

“We are taking a non-traditional approach by asking our psychologists and counselors to proactively build relationships with our student-athletes,” Doug Calland, associate athletics director for sports performance, said. “Our specialists are going to be at our various venues … at practices and games, in our training rooms and team meetings, and at meals so that our student-athletes see, get to know and build trust with them. We want these relationships to be as common as those that are built with coaches, performance staff and athletic trainers. Our student-athletes need and deserve to feel comfortable reaching out to any of them at any time.”

For help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255/TALK (or 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish speakers). To reach someone at Ohio’s 24/7 Crisis Text Line, send 4HOPE to 741741.