Memorial University basketball player passes away

Memorial University and CIS basketball as a whole has been shook by the sudden passing of Waterloo, Ont. native Jacob Ranton.

The details come from the Waterloo Record:

The day before his death, Ranton went to basketball practice at Waterloo Collegiate, hit golf balls with his brother who is going to Indiana University on a golf scholarship next year and then hung out with friends watching Monday night football.
He came home late that night and left a note on the counter, telling his parents he was taking the car and going out for food.  
Ranton didn't come home Monday night. Instead, his body was found in the Conestogo River beneath the train bridge in St. Jacobs by a citizen late Tuesday morning.
The Record also says that there were no signs of depression or problems at school.

The Memorial University coach Peter Benoite told the Telegram that Ranton was "the most enthusiastic, energetic athlete we had this semester" and that "no one saw anything." Ranton was also having a good season on the court, scoring 20.2 points per game, good for third-best in the AUS.

This tragedy should prompt every CIS program to reevaluate the way they talk to their athletes about mental health. Unfortunately, Ranton's struggles are not an isolated issue: UFV basketball player Jasper Moedt detailed his battle with mental health issues in 2013 and Carleton basketball player Krista Van Slingerland left the team in 2013 before their national championship run because of her own mental health struggles. Both athletes said they contemplated suicide.

It's well-documented that the student demographic is more likely to experience battles with mental health. I'd argue that student-athletes are more vulnerable, with the added stress of balancing school with athletics. Athletes may not want to disclose how they are feeling because they want to be "tough" and power through the problems and -- I'm speaking from experience here -- that is an ineffective approach to coping with things like depression and anxiety

This isn't to say that athletic departments aren't doing enough right now. As an outsider, it is hard to make that judgment. The point is, universities should take the time to evaluate what they are doing to see if they can improve.

If you are concerned about your mental well-being, there are simple ways to learn more. Here are some helpful resources:

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