Webb talks candidly about mental health as love for football returns – University of South Dakota Athletics

Webb contacted the Psychological Services Center at USD and eventually began speaking with a doctoral student working under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.

As someone who is now seeking a career in the field, Webb is fully capable of describing the kind of therapy that has turned things around for him.

“It’s called DBT – dialectical behavioral therapy,” Webb said. “It completely changed my whole outlook. I was able to understand my emotions.”

DBT is a kind of cognitive behavioral therapy that identifies and attempts to change negative thinking. In Webb’s case, it was part of a series of enlightenments that have allowed him to enjoy football again.

Conversations with strength and conditioning coach Clete McLeod helped. In Webb’s terms, he described their philosophy as “realizing you have the ability to work your butt off. So why not do it?”

Webb recently told portions of his story for Lost&Found, a non-profit advocacy organization in the region using September to tell 30 stories in 30 days of people overcoming mental health issues.

Today, I am in a better place than I was previously,” Webb wrote in his entry for the organization website. “With medications and me trying to practice more mindfulness techniques, I am in a good place. I like football again.”

There was a time when Webb got through his practices at USD by being angry. For some, it’s a means of motivation that works fine, but for Webb it felt out of place. Football is never going to be a sport a defensive end should be playing with a smile for all 60 minutes. But then again, scowling toughness can be delivered simultaneously with appreciating the joy of playing the game at a high level.

That’s where Webb is now. That’s where he wants to stay.

“When you’re struggling with depression, your interest in your passions and your hobbies just sort of die,” Webb said. “I’m at the top of the world right now because I realize what I was feeling was not football’s fault. This is a sport I love – I get to be myself. I’m so glad I’ve rekindled my love of it. It’s a journey that has been incredibly important to me because I took the strides necessary to take care of my mental health.”

The Coyotes opened the season with an encouraging but nevertheless unsuccessful effort at the University of Kansas last week. The 17-14 loss could easily have been viewed as a noble effort against a Big 12 program, but as Webb described it, his team didn’t see it that way.

“Coach (Travis) Johanson told us it should sting,” Webb said. “From what I’ve seen in practice this week, that’s how the whole team is looking at it. We want to punch a wall out. We have something to prove.”

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