Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa just finished college and, as a captain for Notre Dame Football, is aiming for the NFL. As he navigates the uncertainty of life after graduation, he’s also coming to terms with his mental health in a new way. When his father died just before his final season started, he had to learn how to open up to others for help.
“You need time to process things, especially when you lose a family member. You just need time,” Myron shares. “Sometimes you just need that time alone. But from a mental health standpoint, that’s when that time alone can become an unhealthy habit of isolation, and that’s what it was for me.”
Meet Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, a football player and mental health advocate from Notre Dame. Myron is spending his last days on campus and is an NFL-hopeful. The draft is in a few days.
Myron: Obviously, the first phone call out of fall camp, I found out my dad passed. And essentially, this story, this film is just to help grieving families and those who’ve been facing mental health issues.
We see Myron going through workouts and talking with friends and coaches. He’s walking through Notre Dame’s football building.
It’s weird walking around this locker room as an alum. You know? To even call myself an alum is weird. I’m still getting used to that, really.
He points to himself in a giant photo among teammates in a huddle.
It’s your boy. My first Gug picture. Big time.
We see Myron gathering teammates in a huddle before a game — they shout and holler.
Myron: Bring it up. Bring it up. Let’s go. Clap it up. All break down.
TV announcer Mike Tirico: Third and sixth. You would assume four-down territory if they don’t make it. Yates chased. In trouble. Trying to get rid of it. Ruled a fumble on the ground. And Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa on senior day trying to stay up. He does and goes the distance.
We see Myron playing defense, scooping up a fumble and running it back for a touchdown. He’s surrounded by celebrating teammates.
But on senior day, the graduate student from Hawaii comes up with the big play.
TV announcer Drew Brees: I mean, could you write a script any better for a guy like that on senior day?
Mike Tirico: Myron’s dad, Tuli, passed away August 8th, just inside of a month before the start of this season. And Myron went back to Hawaii for the services for his dad, where he was named captain with his team virtually.
Myron, speaking on a zoom call: You guys’ prayers and the love that you’ve shown me has pushed me through every day. And so, I’m excited to get back to work. And thank you all so much.
His teammates are watching in an auditorium and clap for him.
It was hard. It was hard. I just remember losing my dad, and a couple days later, you’re voted captain. And it’s just a quick turnaround. And so for me, football kind of turned into my escape really.
We see Myron the weightroom and practice field.
As an athlete, like physically and mentally, I knew I to be tough. I didn’t understand that adversity can really affect your mental health.
You need time to process things, especially when you lose a family member. You just need time. Sometimes you just need that time alone. But from a mental health standpoint, that’s when that time alone can become an unhealthy habit of isolation. And that’s what it was for me. And I was like, it’s funny because I was talking to Coach Balis and he described it perfectly. Like, it’s an invisible monster that you can’t touch when you swing. You can’t even hurt it, but you feel every single ounce of its pain when it affects you.
Teammate and roommate Michael Vinson: When you start to see mood changes or someone’s not acting like they usually do, it’s definitely important to check in on people. Because you can read people, especially if you’ve been with them for a while. Like on a football team, you’re with your brothers a whole lot. You’re with each other 24/7, 365. So you can tell if something’s not right. And then definitely acting on that is very important.
Myron is hanging out in a living room with teammates.
Myron: Hopefully, my schedule pans out to where I can watch you guys in Vegas.
Michael: Bro, imagine if you get drafted with the Raiders?
Myron: There’s just something in my head mentally where I was just telling me just to not talk to people. That’s why I think it’s so important for me to stress, and for those of you who are battling mental health issues and stress and anxiety, to listen and hear me, and hear me when I say this: if you need help, seek it.
There are people, there are loving and understanding people, who are just waiting for you to reach out to them. Family member or non-family member, it doesn’t matter. There are people that just want to hear you, that just want to help you.
Coach Matt Balis: And we all go through the hard stuff and adversity and challenges, but it’s how you deal with it. As men, sometimes we don’t deal with it the best way we can in terms of talking about it — and I think especially football players and “tough guys.” But that doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings, you don’t have emotions. You have to talk and open up. There’s no reason why us, as men, shouldn’t be able to talk about this and help one another. And I got this from Jay Glazer’s book — and be teammates for one another because we’re all going through hard stuff.
Myron: To get through these tough times mentally, it can’t be done alone. And whether it’s your faith or your support system, it’s just, you can’t be in that state of isolation.
Coach Matt Balis: You can’t. You got to tell people, you got to get help, and you can’t feel bad about it.
Myron: Yep. Appreciate it.
Coach Matt Balis: I love you, man.
Myron: Thank you.
Coach Matt Balis: Love you.
Myron: Love you too.
We see Myron and Michael playing cards on a kitchen table.
Michael: Because I just got “gin.” Just like old times, man.
Myron: Damn, I’m terrible. This is all I got.