TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Sept. 17, 2015 — A cautionary tale, too late for one shining star

Back in 1995, on a hot spring afternoon in Ewing, N.J., I saw a wraith, a green flash, and an absolute terror on a lacrosse field. Sarah Devens, just a junior, was an All-American on a Dartmouth team which, in the early days before the expansion of the tournament field, was one of the two teams granted an automatic berth into the Final Four. (The other, Maryland, was just at the start of its seven-year reign as national championships, but you know the rest of that story).

Devens was a relentless competitor, one who relished competition in ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse. She didn’t specialize like many of her peers were being asked to do. Instead, she felt most at home competing with her Dartmouth teammates.

Little did anyone know that about eight weeks after Dartmouth lost 13-8 to Princeton, Devens would be lost forever without her playing her senior year. She fought depressive symptoms and sought help through family and the university, but it wasn’t enough.

That’s what makes this first-person account, written by Temple University lacrosse player Kara Stroup, so poignant. Our understanding of mental illness has come a long way over the last four decades, but the science is not yet perfect, and attitudes are, regrettably, slow to change.

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