SPARKS, Md. — The U.S. women’s national team exhibition against Athletes Unlimited on June 8 at Stony Brook University will be dedicated to mental health awareness and will spotlight the nonprofit organization Morgan’s Message.
Morgan’s Message was created by the family and former teammates of Morgan Rodgers, a former Duke University lacrosse student-athlete who died tragically in July 2019 after battling mental health struggles. The mission of the organization is to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health, normalize the conversations about mental health and to ensure that mental health is treated equally to physical health for all student-athletes.
U.S. team players reached out to USA Lacrosse staff members with the idea to use this showcase game as a way to help make an impact and also received the full support of Athletes Unlimited.
“Our group is passionate about being more than just lacrosse players and feels like this would be a great opportunity to not only bring awareness, but do something to help,” they wrote.
“Morgan’s Message is excited and honored to partner with USA Lacrosse and Athletes Unlimited to highlight the importance of mental health among athletes,” said Dona Rodgers, Morgan’s mother and the co-founder and president of Morgan’s Message. “Now more than ever we must eliminate the stigma and open up the conversation. As partners we’re on the same mission: We are taking a shot at mental health!”
Both teams will wear specially-designed t-shirts during pregame warmups and t-shirts are available for pre-sale and onsite to benefit Morgan’s Message. The phrase on the t-shirt reads “check on your teammates.”
“The line was designed to remind us that while we may be teammates sharing a common schedule and end goal, we need to remember to check in on our teammates,” said Lizzie Colson, a U.S. team defender who is also an ambassador for Morgan’s Message. “We never know what the person to our left or right is going through. This line reminds us to check in on the teammates around us because we’re friends, listeners and support systems AS WELL AS teammates.”
The U.S. team is in training for the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s Championship, which will be hosted by USA Lacrosse from June 29 to July 9 at Towson (Md.) University.
A record 30 nations will compete in this summer’s world championship, which is being held in the U.S. for the first time since 2005. The United States is the reigning world champion in women’s lacrosse, having defeated Canada in the 2017 final in Guildford, England, while England beat Australia for the bronze medal.
Athletes Unlimited, which operates the only women’s professional league in the United States, will hold its second season following the conclusion of the world championship. The Athletes Unlimited season features 56 of the best players on the planet including nine US National and two international team members from England and Israel. Season two of Athletes Unlimited lacrosse will run for four weekends from July 21 through August 14 with all games being played at USA Lacrosse headquarters and carried exclusively on the ESPN networks. More information about Athletes Unlimited lacrosse is available here: https://auprosports.com/lacrosse/