Iowa offensive lineman Sean Welsh opened up about his battle with depression Wednesday in a post he wrote for the athletic department's website.
The redshirt senior has been a regular on the Hawkeyes' front line for the last three seasons, earning a second-team All-America nod from USA Today and several all-conference accolades during his career. Welsh said he first started dealing with the symptoms of depression during his redshirt freshman season in 2014.
"Football, the driving force for many years of my life, went from a source of purpose to a source of apathy," he wrote. "I started to feel a myriad of negative emotions: sadness, anxiety, dread and anger. They hit me like a bombardment from the moment I woke up to when I went back to bed."
"If you think you suffer from depression, see someone. If you suspect a loved one suffers, get them the help they need. And if you know of someone struggling with depression be understanding and caring -- you will make a world of difference." Sean Welsh
Welsh said he temporarily left the program to seek help on two different occasions despite having success on the field and in the classroom. He wrote that he left spring practice in 2015 to see a therapist and treat the disease. He also struggled through a bout of depression during training camp in August 2016.
Welsh said doctors have told him his depression is a genetic condition that will stay with him throughout his life. He said he decided to share stories about his run-ins with the disease publicly in hopes of raising awareness for how to manage it.
"If you think you suffer from depression, see someone," he wrote. "If you suspect a loved one suffers, get them the help they need. And if you know of someone struggling with depression be understanding and caring -- you will make a world of difference."
Last fall Welsh was a part of Iowa's leadership group, a member of the Academic All-Big Ten team and won the program's Hustle Award. He is one of three Hawkeye players who will be representing his teammates at the Big Ten media days in Chicago next week.