About a month ago, I shared a story abt NHL Goaltender, Robin Lehner, who’d just won the Masterton Trophy — given to the player who best exemplifies “the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship & dedication to hockey.”
In his acceptance speech, if you remember, Robin stood up for all who face MH challenges by claiming loudly: “This does not make me mentally weak.”
The previous season, in March of 2018, Robin had entered the League’s substance abuse program. As Robin explained his situation at the time: “I was (am) an addict that was diagnosed w bipolar & ADHD w PTSD & trauma.”
Because he was so open, he got the help he needed, & this past season, he thrived. He was one of the League’s best, finishing runner-up for the “Vezina Trophy,” given to the League’s best overall goaltender.
Despite all the success, & despite all the applauds from NHL circles, Robin was not offered a long-term contract by his own team, nor any team for that matter. But he doesn’t blame anyone – he says it’s the system that’s broken, bc we haven’t educated society (& in his world the decision makers, specifically), that you can overcome challenges, manage your MH, & remain consistently productive.
In that respect he’s a hero not just to other pro athletes, but anyone who is doubted or passed over, bc of their MH challenges.
Darren Rovell, before knowing him personally, wrote a tweet abt Robin’s courage, & the risk he was taking in a free agent yr (only 27) by being so open. Robin ending up reaching out to both Darren & I, after that tweet to pledge his support & find out more abt our initiative. Islanders fans loved Robin for his class – & that, was class personified.
For the past few wks I’ve had the fortune to speak to Robin, daily. Call us MH nerds, that we love this topic & want to figure out every way we can to help ppl. We don’t have all the answers…& we weigh so many possibilities. But I can truly say I’m honored to now be Robin’s #SameHere🤙 teammate, & friend. Lots ahead, but please help me welcome him to the #SameHere Community!