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To create this list, Niche culled data from students at colleges around the US who rated their schools in a number of categories, including academics and athletics.

Though #DamWorthIt is in its infancy, Braaten and Ricci have big ambitions for the program. They plan to hold seminars and host guest speakers, and get to the point where talking about mental health is considered everyday conversation. They’ve discussed hosting suicide prevention training sessions. Ricci hopes every school across the country will adopt a similar initiative. Both praised Oregon State’s athletic training staff, which has implemented weekly wellness checks where trainers ask athletes how much sleep they’re getting, if they’re anxious about anything or if they have any off-field issues they need to talk about.


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"Most [students] are pretty athletic; the gym is a very popular place."

In return, the student-athlete has an obligation to the athletic program and the college. The student-athlete must participate according to MIAC and NCAA rules and regulations. The student-athlete must also comply with college and departmental policies and academic requirements. The student-athlete must demonstrate respect for his/her teammates, coaches, and the college. The student-athlete is expected to compete with honesty, demonstrate good sportsmanship, and perform to the best of his/her ability for the success of the team.


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Studies have shown athletes, who balance intense schedules of school and practice while spending many nights on the road, are more likely than their peers to display depression-like symptoms. In a recent survey by Psychology Today, 6.3 percent of athletes met criteria for clinically significant depression, and 24 percent were dubbed “clinically relevant.” Female student-athletes are almost twice as likely to show depression symptoms.

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Thursday night at Gill Coliseum, where the men’s basketball team hosted UCLA, #DamWorthIt set up a table in the lobby and invited conversations with anyone who stopped by. They were there to talk about the stress of school, athletics and life in general. They passed out pamphlets on mental health, and resource cards with the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Next to them, student workers from the university Counseling and Psychological Services explained that professional therapists are available to any Oregon State student, free of charge.

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These students “blank” or “freeze” on tests. High test anxiety reduces working memory, confuses reasoning, increases mistakes, and lowers test scores. Students with high anxiety perform around 12 percentile points below their low anxiety peers (about half of a letter grade below).

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Students will be selected for the program based on moral character and academic performance in addition to athletic abilities. Most critically, nominees must demonstrate a fighting spirit that improves the lives of their fellow citizens.