Sarah Shulze suicide: University of Wisconsin track star kills self after battling mental health woes. Athlete honored as suicide on college campus id as a real issue.
‘Sarah took her own life,’ the family said in a statement two days after dying. ‘Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of everyday life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment. Like you, we are shocked and grief stricken while holding on tightly to all that Sarah was.’
‘Sarah regarded herself as a champion for all women, as did the many family members, friends, students and athletes who surrounded her,’ the Shulzes added.
It remained unclear the manner of Sarah Shulze’s suicide death.
Devoted to sport
The 21-year-old’s ‘legacy of compassion’ lives on in those who were recipients of her organs, which the family donated on Good Friday. Her relatives also plan to launch a foundation ‘that will be established to continue to support the causes most important to Sarah.’
Shulze’s parents hope her suicide helps others to better understand the fragility of mental health.
The star runner, originally from Oak Park, Ca., was a junior at Wisconsin. Her devotion to her sport, which the family says began on her high school track and cross-country teams, resulted in an athletic scholarship at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Shulze was in her third season with the Badgers, competing in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. She earned academic all-Big Ten honors in 2020 and 2021 for cross country and in 2021 for track.
‘Sarah was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, teammate and Badger student-athlete,’ University of Wisconsin officials said in a statement.
‘We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to Sarah’s family, friends and Badger teammates during this extraordinarily difficult time. Our primary focus is the support of the Shulze family and our student-athletes.’
Shulze was also a member of the Student Athlete Council at UW Madison.
Her loved ones said she strived to make be a force of change in the world, noting she had a ‘deep love for politics, social causes and women’s rights’.
Shulze had served as an intern at the Wisconsin legislature and volunteered as a poll worker during the 2020 presidential election.
‘Above all other things, Sarah was a power for good in the world,’ her loved ones said. ‘Her deep compassion was evident in her devotion to her sisters Abbey and Ella, the love her parents felt from her every single day, and the extra care she took in moments shared with her grandparents and cousins.’
Shulze will be honored with a celebration of her life in Wisconsin on Sunday, April 24, and in her home state of California on May 2 according to VC Star.
Tributes honoring the star athlete followed.
Olympic runner Georgia Ellenwood, a former Wisconsin track star, expressed her condolences in a comment under the school’s Instagram post.
Shulze earned academic all-Big Ten honors in 2020 and 2021 for cross country and in 2021 while running at Wisconsin.
A 2019 graduate of Oak Park High, Shulze was a star distance runner at her high school. She was named Ventura County Athlete of the Year and earned a scholarship to Wisconsin in 2018.
Shulze’s family launched the Sarah Shulze Foundation to advance and support women’s rights, student athletes and mental health.
Shulze is survived by her parents, Brigitte and Scott, and her sisters Abbey and Ella.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, according to data published by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention in 2013.
Approximately 1,100 suicides occur on college campuses across the U.S. each year.
A 2015 study of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes revealed that 7.3 percent of mortality among NCAA student athletes was due to suicide.
The study revealed the suicide rate among student-athletes was lower than that of the overall collegiate population, but still greatly impacted the group.
Male athletes appeared to be more at-risk for suicide than female athletes, with the study finding football players had the greatest risk.