James Madison University revealed Tuesday that a 20-year-old college softball standout had died. Hers is the third female collegiate athlete to die since March 2022.
Lauren Bernett, a sophomore biology student from McDonald, Pennsylvania, was named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week on Monday, one day before her death. She assisted the institution in reaching the Women’s College World Series last year.
Bernett’s death was ruled a “apparent suicide” by authorities on Wednesday.
Bryan Hutcheson, the Rockingham County Sheriff, said in a statement that his agency is still completing its investigation on the death of the athlete and is waiting for the report from the Virginia Office of the CME.
On March 2, Stanford University confirmed the demise of Katie Meyer, 22, the women’s soccer team’s goalkeeper and captain.
Meyer’s parents eventually revealed that she committed herself, telling NBC’s “Today” program that they had “no red flags” regarding the mental health of their daughter. The Meyers, on the other hand, accepted the pressures of sports.
“There’s so much pressure I think on athletes, right, especially at that high level balancing academics and a high competitive environment,” Gina Meyer shared on the program. “And there is anxiety and there is stress to be perfect, to be the best, to be number one.”
Sarah Shulze, a cross-country runner at University of Wisconsin-Madison, committed herself earlier this month, according to her family.
“Sarah took her own life. Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of every day life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment,” the family shared on Shulze’s website. “Like you, we are shocked and grief stricken while holding on tightly to all that Sarah was.” According to the ACSM, just 10% of athletes with recognized mental health disorders seek treatment from a mental health specialist