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Corvallis — The hours of practice, the travel schedules, the stress of competing against top athletes and the daily pressures of college are intense for Oregon State student-athletes.

The experiences of former OSU gymnast Taylor Ricci and current men’s soccer player Nathan Braaten have led them to spearhead conversation about those demands through a mental health awareness initiative dubbed #DamWorthIt.

“Our goal is to destigmatize and spread awareness about the epidemic of mental health in collegiate athletics,” said Ricci, an exercise and sport science major. 

Fans who enter the Gill Coliseum lobby Thursday night will notice two booths staffed by student-athletes and by OSU’s nationally recognized Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff. 

The #DamWorthIt Campaign has already received national attention as both Ricci and Braaten have been selected to attend the NCAA APPLE Conference later this month in San Diego. The conference is an annual three-day national training institute dedicated to substance-abuse prevention and health promotion of student-athletes.

In addition to this Thursday, the #DamWorthIt Campaign will have a presence at the Jan. 28 wrestling meet vs. Northern Colorado, the Feb. 2 women’s basketball game vs. Stanford and the Feb. 17 gymnastics meet vs. Arizona.


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