Parents of Stanford women's soccer goalie Katie Meyer, who died from suicide, push for 'Katie's Save' policy

Three months after their daughter, Stanford women's soccer goalkeeper Katie Meyer, died from suicide, parents Steve and Gina Meyer have proposed a university policy they believe could have saved her life.

"Katie's Save" would give students the option to opt in to a program that would notify an advocate of their choosing via email in the event they face challenging circumstances, including those dealing with physical injury, mental health, academic problems, substance abuse or disciplinary issues.

"When [things get difficult], sometimes [college-aged students] think they can adult and they think they can handle it, but sometimes they can't," Gina Meyer said. "They may need extra support from someone, someone checking in on them, someone saying, 'Hey, can I help you with this? What can we do? How can I help you?'"

The policy proposal stems from the Meyers' shock that Katie, 22, had been dealing with a university disciplinary issue for six months without their knowledge.

"We feel like had we known, or even her coach, or even if someone had known what was going on, they might have been able to help her through this and give her some extra support," Gina said.

While the policy is not designed specifically for student-athletes, Katie's background as a soccer player led the Meyers to connect with Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA chief medical officer, for input on how they can implement change.

"'Katie's Save' is really an attempt at providing a safety valve for when someone may be in a crisis or there may be a particular danger point or vulnerability point," Hainline said. "It's trying to put at the front end a safety valve by working with things that normally are protected by either HIPAA or FERPA. What I did was connect them with groups that I think can really look at this and to help socialize it."

It's unclear how open universities will be to implementing a policy such as "Katie's Save."

"The hard thing with college students is they are legally adults," Dr. Sheriece Sadberry, a licensed psychologist, said in an email. "They have power over their medical care and whether or not they want their parents to know anything that is happening to them while they are at school, including disciplinary and academic concerns."

"We have to be careful not to put the 'vault' that is mental health or even the university in the middle of the student and parent's relationship. It is a difficult position for all parties."

The Meyers aim is for "Katie's Save" to be included during a school's registration process and they understand that it won't be for everyone, nor would it have its designed impact with all who opt in.

"There's not a one-size-fits-all kind of box," Gina said. "Everyone has a different story, a different situation, but the more resources, the more safety nets, the more support that we offer these kids, hopefully we can start making some real changes."

The Meyers are still in the process of gathering information about, and fully understanding, the disciplinary process Katie was going through at Stanford, along with the mental toll it had taken on her.

On the night of Feb. 28, Katie FaceTimed her parents and two sisters from her dorm room at Stanford and she was in a good mood, according to her mom. They were coordinating Katie's plans for spring break, which included a stop home in Southern California before a few days in Mexico with friends.

"We've all asked each other. Did any of us see anything? And as a mom, I would say, mother's intuition," Gina said. "I know my kids. I can look at them and you can tell when something's off or something's wrong. [There was] nothing, zero. She was in great spirits."

However, later that evening Katie received a six-page email from Stanford informing her of a disciplinary hearing.

"We do not want to go too deep into what was in there at this point, but it threatened everything," Steve Meyer said.

The following day, Meyer was found dead in her dorm room, where she lived as a resident adviser. An autopsy performed March 3 confirmed the manner of death was from suicide.

A senior studying international relations and history, Meyer made two key saves in a penalty shootout to help Stanford win the national championship in 2019. She was a part of the prestigious 2022 Mayfield Fellows Program -- which is geared toward developing students to lead technology ventures -- and was awaiting acceptance into Stanford Law School.