Dak Prescott inspires after opening up about mental health



Preparing to take the field for the opening drive, Dak Prescott is always ready as the star of a prolific offense on America’s most popular team. Prescott recently opened up about his struggles with anxiety and depression in quarantine following his brother’s death.

John Robbins, Staff Reporter

As Mental Health Awareness Day approaches, nearly half of Americans say their mental health has gotten worse during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a poll from the Kaiser Institute. When a famous celebrity or athlete speaks out, it can help fight mental health stigma by inspiring their fans to seek help for similar issues. Most people know Dak Prescott as the leader of a high octane Dallas Cowboys offense and being an elite NFL quarterback that has led two playoff runs. His jersey number, featuring the number four, has been near the top of sales every year throughout his career and is instantly recognizable by even casual football fans. Prescott has frequently lit up the field on Sundays in front of tens of thousands of fans at AT&T Stadium and many more watching from home. The surreal pressure of being the leader of “America’s Team” has never held him back before, on or off the field. However, Prescott recently opened up about his struggles during quarantine, following the tragic death of his brother Jace at the young age of thirty-one.
Prescott talked during an extended interview that was taped earlier this year about his brother, as well as his mother losing her battle with colon cancer in 2013. Even during the time leading up to his brother’s suicide, Prescott started to experience negative emotions that he had never felt before. Those happened to be depression and anxiety, Prescott explained in a recent interview with Graham Bensinger. Prescott felt it was important to be “genuine and transparent” when dealing with internal turmoil because it is easier to overcome with help from others. Senior Graham Aitken gave his thoughts on the interview and Dak’s message: “I think it is good for regular people to know that even a superstar millionaire goes through rough times and can face problems with feeling down too.” However, Prescott’s message received wildly different reactions from pundits and his fellow peers in the NFL. Sports analyst Skip Bayless criticized Dak for opening up, believing that he needed to portray a strong persona as the Cowboys franchise quarterback. This was met with vast criticism and an outpour of support for Dak coming from star players like Aaron Rodgers and Hayden Hurst. Prescott’s voice should be an assurance for many NFL and sports fans that mental health is a real problem to have.
Prescott grew up in a Louisiana trailer park which came with hardship and sacrifices early in his life. But Prescott was able to turn his life into super-stardom when he was recruited as a redshirt freshman to Mississippi State. He has continued to deal with loss, but his life changed when he was taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. Prescott believes these hardships have brought his family closer together, and opening up to close friends has made him realize that everyone struggles with something inside. Prescott is sure to continue putting up big numbers this year and will attempt to turn things around for his one and three Cowboys team. His recent interview has found him many new fans ready to watch him play.