Thomas Cole, a second-year reserve offensive lineman for UCLA, has decided to step away from football.

He announced his decision on Saturday in a raw and deeply personal letter to the Bruin community. In the early part of this year, Cole says he attempted to take his own life. “Football is not conducive for my mental health, and there is more to life than the game of football,” he wrote in a message shared to social media.

Here’s his message in its entirety:

“I haven’t been present at the Wasserman facility for the past six months. This is because at the start of 2022 I made an attempt to take my own life. At first I was regretful that I survived my attempt, but thankfully due to the people at the UCLA hospital, Paradigm residential treatment, and my therapist Meg, I have come to a much brighter outlook for my own future. 

“After many months of thorough consideration, I have come to the conclusion that football is not conducive for my mental health, and there is more to my life than the game of football. This does not negate the impact that my teammates and coaches have had on my life. Through thick and thin the freshman offensive line, consisting of Benjamin Roy, Garrett DiGiorgio, Noah Pulealii, and Taka Mahe were there for me. These men brought me so much joy and laughter in a time of immense personal suffering. For these friendships I am forever thankful. I will miss competing and the game of football. But I will mostly miss the people it has brought into my life. 

“I will forever cheer on the Bruins and wish the football program nothing but success. Everyone I interacted with at UCLA from coaches to teachers, tutors and more thank you so much! You all have had a great impact on my life. 

“For all those who may be struggling, you are not alone and you are loved. It is OK to ask for help. Thank you to my family for being so loving during this process of learning to live again.”