In October, Wisconsin Badgers tight end Jack Pugh bravely opened up about his struggles with mental health on Instagram. In late February, Badger’s women’s head basketball coach Marisa Moseley publicly shared her mental health journey for the first time. The conversation surrounding mental health is becoming more and more normalized by the day, and UNCUT Madison is continuing to bring that conversation into the spotlight.
UNCUT Madison, an athlete-led 501 (c)(3) non-profit media platform co-founded by Dana Rettke on UW’s campus has gathered current and former Badger athletes to share their mental health journey’s at UNCUT’s first ever in person event, “Tackle the Stigma: A Conversation About Mental Health and Sports” on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:00 p.m. CT in The Marquee at Union South on UW’s campus.
Highlighting the panel is former Badger running back and 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball. Since his playing days, Ball has become a strong mental health advocate, constantly preaching the importance of therapy which he has credited as being a huge part of his battles with alcoholism and depression.
✅ Student-athlete— UNCUT Madison (@uncut_madison) April 13, 2022
✅ Big Ten Soccer All-Tournament Team
✅ Meditation advocate
From leading the Big Ten in game-winning goals to balancing life as a student-athlete, @emmajaskaniec knows a thing or two about pressure and how to deal with it.
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Ball will be joined by former Badger linebacker Chris Borland, current Badger women’s soccer athlete Emma Jaskaniec, and former Director of Sports & Clinical Psychology at UW Madison, Dr. Kris Eiring. Each of the four panelists have unique, inspirational mental health stories that they are very excited to share. Big Ten Network reporter Emily Ehman will be moderating the panel.
When presented with the chance to join UNCUT for the event, Ball jumped on the opportunity: “I find it to be an obligation of folks like myself, Chris Borland, Emma… people who have this lived experience of mental health, barriers that they had to overcome, to use our stage to share these experiences in hopes to bring together the student body population as well as the student athlete population to tear down the stigma that a majority of us struggle with.”
For those who are unfamiliar with UNCUT Madison, UNCUT provides Badger student athletes with a platform and opportunity to share their stories without the pressure of an outside media outlet or reporters. UNCUT Madison is focused on authenticity and allowing athletes to show their community who they are off of the field, who they are as human beings. In a way, it is similar to The Players’ Tribune, however it is the first outlet of its kind at the collegiate level.
When UNCUT Madison was launched in the midst of a pandemic, hosting a large, in person event was not even in the realm of possibility. Now removed from UNCUT’s day to day operations, co-founder Rettke is thrilled with the work UNCUT is doing now that she has graduated: “It’s meant so much… To see a whole new staff taking over UNCUT that will ensure UNCUT stays at UW and be an active non-profit for years to come, it makes me really proud of the work we put in and that our vision is coming to life and other people have bought into that vision.”
Tackle the Stigma follows the success of UNCUT Madison’s mental-health-focused ‘Bettering Badgers’ content series and aims to further drive the conversation surrounding mental health and athletes. Tickets are available for purchase here. Follow UNCUT Madison on Instagram, Twitter, and their website for further announcements regarding the event.