BISMARCK, N.D. — A junior hockey player said he was denied an opportunity to realize his dream of playing for an NCAA Division I school because of depression he suffered in the past.
Jacques Lamoureux of Grand Forks, who plays forward for the Bismarck Bobcats in the North American Hockey League, had been recruited to play for the Air Force Academy in Colorado. But he said his admission to the school was denied earlier this month.
“The whole situation caught me off guard,” he said. “[Depression] is something I went through three years ago. It’s not like I haven’t got any better.”
Dave Toller, a spokesman for the Air Force athletic department, said privacy laws prevent the school from commenting about the specifics of a player who is rejected for medical reasons. He did say that the Air Force does not have a blanket policy ruling out applicants who have suffered from depression.
“Every situation is a little different,” Toller said. “The decision is made by the medical board and is well out of our hands.”
While he was in high school, Lamoureux sought help for suicidal thoughts and was put on antidepressants and briefly hospitalized.
With the help of his family, Lamoureux worked through the depression and began reaching out to others. He wrote a paper about his experiences for a psychology class and began speaking to organizations, especially student groups, about depression, hoping to increase awareness.
Lamoureux said he made sure the Air Force coaching staff was aware of his past, and they weren’t expecting any problems.
Lamoureux said he feels the rejection hurts the message he is trying to spread when he talks to youth groups.
“We’re a society where, we push for people to go get help, and then when they get help successfully, we hold it against them,” he said.
Toller said Lamoureux can appeal the decision. The Lamoureux family also has sought the help of Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.
Source: Associated Press