opinion piece Archives - Athletes for Hope

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AFH Opinion

AFH Opinion

Revisiting TWN’s Athlete Impact Summit

By Suzanne Potts, LMSW, MPH

As we get into the full swing of fall, it felt like an important time to reflect on all that I’ve learned this year and the people I’ve been lucky enough to learn them from. One of the discussions that has stuck with me most over the past few months occurred when I moderated the Athlete Activism: Why Does it Matter? panel as part of Tackle What’s Next’s Athlete Impact Summit in July.

As the Director of our Athletes for Hope University program, and as someone who has worked with athletes of all levels via our mental health and advocacy work, I am fortunate to connect with athletes every single day and witness the tremendous impact they are able to make on their communities. What I reflect on about this panel was hearing first-hand from former professional athletes Toney Sanneh and Chris Dickerson on how they are continuing to make positive changes in the world after retiring and how Lyzz Ogunwo is helping professional basketball players do the exact same across the globe. Their stories and examples inspire me to help others do the same.

I enjoyed our conversation as it helped me think about athlete advocacy from both an athlete and a charity perspective. “Why is it important for athletes to become advocates for causes they care about?” “What can that do personally to an athlete who finds themselves passionate about a specific cause yet keep being told to ‘shut up and dribble’?” I appreciated the diversity in feedback from each panelist who came to this conversation with a unique background, sport and interest. It offered me the chance to think about all of our athletes who may lead from various positions on a team yet have an enormous opportunity outside of sport to lead in communities.

All in all, our conversation underlined the importance of helping athletes understand their potential to give back to their communities and to make a positive difference in the world. Any athlete, of any level, can make an impact and the world. Time is just as valuable as money. This core belief is what drives us every day at Athletes for Hope and it is empowering to see it brought to life through the work of organizations like The Sanneh Foundation, Players for the Planet and the NBPA Foundation.

Please take the time learn a little bit about each organization and find opportunities to support their collective work. We know we’re excited to help support their work in any way we can.

And of course, a special thank you to Danielle Berman and the Tackle What’s Next team for putting on this incredible summit. Be sure to check out other events they have coming up here.