Participants of State High Miles 4 Morgan event pose for a group photo, Sunday, May 19th, 2024 at Circleville Park.
Participants of State High Miles 4 Morgan event pose for a group photo, Sunday, May 19th, 2024 at Circleville Park.
Jacob Will

Morgan’s Message: A New Chapter for SCASD Athletics

Morgan’s Message is a country-wide organization that advocates for the mental health of student athletes. In the spring of 2024, a new chapter of the organization was opened in the State College Area School District. The SCASD ambassadors for Morgan’s Message are sophomore Lily Sidwell, junior Ella Tambroni, and senior Mia Case. 

Junior Ella Tambroni (left), senior Mia Case (center), and sophomore Lily Sidwell (right) cheer on participants at State High Miles 4 Morgan event, Sunday, May 19th, 2024 at Circleville Park.
(Jacob Will)

Morgan Rodgers was a Division I lacrosse player at Duke University. She was known to be a strong willed, determined, and positive person both on and off the field. Unfortunately, after going through a horrible injury and surgery, Rodgers felt like she had lost control of her life and identity. As she suffered in silence, Rodger’s mental health only deteriorated. On July 11, 2019, Rodgers passed away by suicide at the age of 22. 

Morgan’s legacy continues through Morgan’s Message — an organization started by her family to honor Morgan and help student athletes feel seen. The mental health of student athletes are often overlooked — jam packed schedules, extremely high expectations, fluctuating self-worth, balancing so many circles of life such as academic, social, and athletic, are only some of the few things that they have to go through.

“I’m a dual sport athlete and I see [Morgan’s Message] everywhere […] I was like ‘Oh, we don’t have that’ at State High, so why not? And I know that my teammates and I struggle sometimes and I want to be a support system for people,” Lily Sidwell, SCASD chapter president, said. 

Sidwell describes the dynamic of the leadership team as uplifting, friendly, and supportive.

Junior Ella Tambroni (left) and sophomore Lily Sidwell (right) at the registration table of the State High Miles 4 Morgan event, Sunday, May 19th, 2024 at Circleville Park.
(Jacob Will)

“I play both my sports with Ella and Mia I play lacrosse with. Both of them are such awesome people and are very interested in mental health and looking out for people. […] Honestly, I was just mentioning the idea and their response was like, ‘I’d love to help you’,” Sidwell said.

On May 19, Morgan’s Message held a 4K run at Circleville Park. Sidwell elaborates on how it was a way to get the word out regarding the club and gather support. There was a turnout of about 60 people and they were able to sell merchandise.

The morning was filled with passion, joy, support, and laughter as members of the State College community came together to support this initiative. 

“Seeing the smile in everyone’s faces when they were crossing the finish line [was my favorite part about the Morgan’s Message 4K event]. We had a couple of my coaches’ kids from field hockey and they were five or six and they were also running and competing. Everyone was just extremely supportive, both friends and family,” Sidwell said. 

Sidwell also has big, but achievable goals for Morgan’s Message. Firstly, she wishes for Morgan’s Message to be a club of its own as currently it is part of Mental Health Matters.

Aaron crosses the starting line at State High Miles 4 Morgan event, Sunday, May 19th, 2024 at Circleville Park.
(Jacob Will)

“My goal, by the end of my high school career, is to have every sport do a dedication game to Morgan’s Message.”

She wishes for Morgan’s Message to represent all sports and teams. Dedication games are a great way to spread the word and educate people regarding their purpose. 

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