Harry Miller appeared to have it all. The 2019 graduate of Buford High School (Georgia) was the valedictorian of his class, a missionary who serves on the board of “Mission For Nicaragua”, and a “Five Star” football recruit who had full scholarship offers to nearly every top football program in the country. Ultimately, he chose to play at THE Ohio State University where he saw time on the field playing as a freshman and would soon be interviewing agents who wanted to represent him in the NFL draft as a high round pick. All was going as planned, or so everyone thought. Late in the evening on a warm August night in 2021, Harry would make a call to his mother that changed the trajectory of all their lives forever with five words, “I can’t do this anymore.” The following day after speaking to his Head Coach Ryan Day, telling him about his overwhelming desire and intent to take his life, he received the help he desperately needed. Like any other injury or illness, Harry began working with professionals to help heal from an illness that no one else could see, but everyone was talking about, “Where is Harry Miller?” After quietly sitting out of the 2021 season with much speculation as to his whereabouts Harry decided it was time to put an end to the false narratives circulating and tell his story by announcing his medical retirement from football. His statement caught the hearts of the country, and he was instantly catapulted into a newer, more important role, Mental Health Advocate. His mission is simple, to break the stigma surrounding mental illness by raising awareness and education, using the motto, “Don’t Make It Weird”, talk about mental health. Harry is still enrolled at THE Ohio State University where he is on track to graduate on time with a 4.0 GPA in Mechanical Engineering in the winter of 2023. Harry plans on attending graduate school and will continue his mental health advocacy through education and legislation.
Below is Harry’s Medical Retirement statement. *(Warning: There are descriptions of self-harm and suicide.)
Posted on Social Media on March 10, 2022:
I am medically retiring.
I would not usually share such information. However, because I have played football, I am no longer afforded the privilege of privacy, so I will share my story briefly before more articles continue to ask, “What is wrong with Harry Miller?” That is a good question. It is a good enough question for me not to know the answer, though I have asked it often.
Prior to the season last year, I told Coach Day of my intention to kill myself. He immediately had me in touch with Dr. Candace (Williams) and Dr. Norman, and I received the support I needed. After a few weeks, I tried my luck at football once again, with scars on my wrists and throat. Maybe the scars were hard to see with my wrists taped up. Maybe it was hard to see the scars through the bright colors of the television. Maybe the scars were hard to hear through all the talk shows and interviews. They are hard to see, and they are easy to hide, but they sure do hurt. There was a dead man on the television set, but nobody knew it.
At the time, I would rather be dead than a coward. I’d rather be nothing at all, than have to explain everything that was wrong. I was planning on being reduced to my initials on a sticker on a back of a helmet. I had seen people seek help before. I had seen the age-old adage of how our generation was softening by the second, but I can tell you my skin was tough. It had to be. But it was not tougher than the sharp metal of my box cutter. And I saw how easy it was for people to dismiss others by talking about how they were just a dumb college kid who didn’t know anything. But luckily, I am a student in the College of Engineering, and I have a 4.0 and whatever accolades you might require, so maybe if somebody’s hurt can be taken seriously for once, it can be mine. And maybe I can vouch for all the other people who hurt but are not taken seriously because, for some reason, pain must have pre-requisites. A person like me, who supposedly has the entire world in front of them, can be fully prepared to give up the world entire. This is not an issue reserved for the far and away. It is in our homes. It is in our conversations. It is in the people we love.
I am not angry. I had to lose my anger because I did not know if God would forgive me if I went to Him in anger. I did not know how the Host of Hosts would respond to my untimely arrival, and I did not want to tempt Him. So in my sadness, I lost my anger and learned many things. I learned what color blood is through the tears in my eyes. I learned that the human ear can not distinguish between the two when their drops hit a tiled floor. But above all, I learned love, the type of love that can only be pieced together by the mechanism of brutal sadness.
And so, I will love more than I can be hated or laughed at, for I know the people who are sneering need most the love that I was looking for. The cost of apathy is life, but the price of life is as small as an act of kindness. I am a life preserved by the kindness that was offered to me by others when I could not produce kindness for myself.
We ask, “How could this have happened?” but that single question can not absolve us of all the questions we might have asked while it was happening.
I am grateful for the infrastructure Coach Day has put in place at Ohio State, and I am grateful he is letting me find a new way to help others in the program. I hope athletic departments around the country do the same. If not for him and the staff, my words would not be a reflection. They would be evidence in a post-mortem.
God bless those who love. God bless those who weep. And God bless those who hurt and only know how to share their hurt by anger, for they are learning to love with me.
I am okay.
There is help, always. 800-273-8255
“Dum Spiro Spero” – While I Breathe, I Hope.