Roanoke high school volleyball game digs into student-athlete mental health

Seniors Reese Redford and Abby Crosser are opponents on the court but supporters off it

Following the end of the first set, the teams had raised over $500 to go to Morgan’s Message.

SALEM, Va. – A volleyball game between Salem High School and Hidden Valley High School served up something special.

Fans attending Tuesday night’s match had the opportunity to donate money to Morgan’s Message, a non-profit that focuses on advocating for resources to benefit student-athletes and their mental health.

Reese Redford and Abby Crosser, two senior volleyball players in Tuesday’s match, are also ambassadors for Morgan’s Message. While on the court they were each doing what they could to help their teams win, and off it, they were spreading a message.

“I think the connection with athletics was a big thing for us and also I think by us doing this together and working together as both teams, we’re promoting togetherness within in this environment which is something not a lot talk about,” Crosser said.

Both players told WSLS 10 about their struggles with mental health and said that having each other has helped them.

“Suffering from my own mental health troubles in sports, I thought I was alone and I didn’t have anyone to turn to. Now I know I have teammates and opponents I can turn to,” Crosser said.

“It’s so important to me. Mental health is something that I struggled with because of athletics and I just really believe that with Morgan’s message and with all the resources coming on social media these days, to really amplify mental health resources,” Redford said.

Following the end of the first set, the teams had raised over $500 to go to Morgan’s Message.

Redford believes it’s just as much about spreading the word about the organization itself.

“For so many years mental health has been something that everyone including non-student athletes has felt that they cannot speak up about,” Redford said. “Truly our goal tonight is to just spread the word and really just reach communities outside of ours to spread the message of mental health and that it’s okay to not be okay. That support is there if you need it.”

If you or someone you know wants to donate to Morgan’s Message to help continue providing mental health resources for student-athletes, you can donate to the organization here.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.