I wish to respond to two articles published this week in the Fulcrum, bringing into question the support provided by uOttawa’s Sports Services and its coaching staff to students facing mental health challenges. For privacy reasons, I will not comment on the allegations outlined in the Fulcrum articles. But make no mistake: the university cares deeply about the mental health of all its students.
First, there are many resources available on campus and uOttawa does its best to ensure that each student’s needs are addressed and that they are accompanied throughout the process. Our system is not perfect but we strive to provide students access to the services they require, either through SASS or other resources.
Second, making sure that our student-athletes are fit to play and perform, both mentally and physically, remains our utmost priority at Sports Services. Our coaching staff and employees all understand the pressure of competitive sport and that’s why they go the extra mile to support our Gee-Gees. Our high-performance philosophy is athlete-centered and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes are at the heart of every action we take. We have rigorous return to play protocols and every situation is assessed in the best interest of our players.
Lastly, I want to reiterate to all our student-athletes that coaches, teammates and all the staff at Sports Services care very much that they receive all the help they need. I will encourage all our student-athletes to share their concerns and challenges and that our coaches and members of Sports Services will do whatever is in our power to ensure you are supported and heard. That’s what friends and members of our big Gee-Gee family do for each other.
Director, Sports Services
On Sept. 20, the University of Ottawa hosted a discussion with Indigenous activist Eriel Deranger on the impact of climate change on Indigenous communities and how to become an environmental justice advocate.