Tre Tipton – Pittsburgh Football

“I worked my butt off to get to where I am now.  I come from a small little area called Apollo, PA. It’s not very often they have a Division I athlete come out of my school. I faced a lot of challenges as a kid. I watched my stepfather pass away in front of me. I also lost many family members which unfortunately happened in front of me as well. The hardships molded me into a different type of person, it molded me into the person that I needed to be. It made me grow up a little bit faster than most kids, but it also made me who I am.”

“I was suicidal as a young kid from when I was 7 until I was about 19. I attempted to take my life three times my freshman year of college. I faced a multitude of injuries. My freshman year of college, I played with an ACL and PCL sprain. My sophomore year of college, my lung collapsed on the field in the middle of the game. My junior year I tore almost every ligament in my knee. My senior year my coach and I kind of had a small falling out and I didn’t really get that much playing time. My redshirt senior year I was excited to come in and play, but I ended up tearing my knee again in practice taking a simple step.”

“I remembered what it felt like to be depressed. I remembered what it felt like when I was suicidal. I remember when I experienced anxiety. I remembered all these things and I didn’t want them for any other student-athletes. So I created a program with my friends and we just started working harder to make a better environment for people facing depression and going through life. We wanted to guide athletes along their journeys, so they would always have somebody to talk to and always have somebody to care for them.”

“Being a student-athlete, especially as a freshman, you’re 18, 19-years-old and now you’re in the media. Now all eyes are on you and you’re trying to figure yourself out and there’s a lot of negative energy.  Some kids for the first time ever are having to deal with criticism and people saying ‘You’re terrible.’ I think I reached a point where I was like, I don’t want that for any student-athlete at the University of Pittsburgh. Then I realized that I didn’t want that for anyone. Period.”

“In starting L.O.V.E, we ultimately wanted people to find victory everyday.  A lot of people talk a lot about positivity. One thing I always hated was when people would say to me, ‘Just be positive, it’ll get better.’ I would respond by saying, ‘Okay, but how?’ Now I encourage people to find moments of prosperity. Recognize the positivity within yourself no matter what it takes. If I could give that device to myself at that time, my freshman year, then I’d probably be six years ahead of where I am now. Everything that we do within the program is something I’ve done myself that’s helped me become a stronger person.”

“We have to find a way to make a change within ourselves, not only within ourselves, but our community. We can educate the people around us. Not every single person is gonna want to be educated and that’s fine, to each his own, but as a Black man, it’s terrifying to know that people don’t like you because of your color. It’s terrifying to me and we should work to change that.”

“We have an opportunity to speak up when there’s nobody else speaking. As athletes we’re looked up to. We’re given a lot of advantages compared to other people in the world. automating a lot of kids, probably. Now we have an opportunity. We have a platform and it’s time to use the platform that we have and make a change.”

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