Maurice Clarett speaks to Academy students on April 12. (Ashley Tu/Staff)
On Monday, April 12, Maurice Clarett, a former OSU football player who was suspended after one season, spoke to students as this year’s Currier Lecture guest about the importance of mental health awareness through the trials he has faced in his life.
Clarett explained how his childohood environment influenced him to make poor decisions in an effort to seem cool by his peers. After his third trip to the juvenile detention center, however, Clarett channeled his energy towards becoming the best football player in the nation.
Clarett earned an offer to play with multiple top teams, but decided on OSU. He worked his way to be the starting running back as a freshman, and led the team to a national championship in 2002. But in 2003 he was suspended from the team after violating NCAA rules.
Later, Clarett was also kicked out of the NFL and served four years in prison for aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon. Yet Clarett’s mindset shifted in prison as he attended therapy sessions and immersed himself with self-help books. Clarett realized that he needed to place his mental health as a priority if he wanted to stop releasing his aggression through physical violence and regretful decisions.
After his release, Clarett began to take care of his mental health and worked towards destigmatizing mental illness. A few years later, Clarett founded the Red Zone, a mental health agency that helps hundreds of children struggling with their mental health.
Clarett’s life story left many students with a new sense of motivation to push past their own challenges and prioritize their mental health to finish the school year strong. You can learn more about Maurice Clarett by reading his book, One and Done: How My Life Started When My Football Career Ended.