UCLA Football Player Thomas Cole Announces Retirement After Suicide Attempt: 'It Is Ok to Ask for Help'

In a post on Twitter, Thomas Cole wrote that he decided "football is not conducive for my mental health"

Thomas Cole
Photo: Courtesy UCLA

A University of California, Los Angeles football player announced he is retiring from the game months after he said he attempted suicide.

On Saturday, UCLA offensive lineman Thomas Cole announced in a Twitter post that he had "come to the conclusion that football is not conducive for my mental health, and there is more to life than the game of football," after explaining that he "attempted to take [his] own life" at the start of the year.

"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," Cole, who is from San Luis Obispo, Calif., wrote in the statement.

Cole said his decision to leave the team came "after many months of thorough consideration" and explained that his departure "does not negate the impact that my teammates and coaches have had on my life."

He noted the four other freshman offensive linemen on UCLA's roster in 2021 "brought me so much joy and laughter in a time of immense personal suffering."

"For these friendships I am forever thankful," Cole wrote in the statement. "I will miss competing and the game of football. But I will mostly miss the people it has brought into my life."

Thomas Cole
Courtesy UCLA

Cole enrolled at UCLA in January 2021 as a freshman but did not see any playing time during the Bruins' 2021 fall season, according to his bio on the UCLA Bruins' website.

In high school, Cole was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team for juniors in 2019, as well as the All-Pac-4 first team the same year as a significant college football prospect, according to his bio.

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Cole wrote that he "will forever cheer on the Bruins and [wishes] the football program nothing but success."

"For all those who may be struggling, you are not alone and you are loved," he concluded in the statement. "It is ok to ask for help. Thank you to my family for being so loving during this process of learning to live again."

The UCLA Athletics department declined PEOPLE's request for comment Wednesday, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which prohibits schools from discussing students' health.

In June, another UCLA football player, defensive back Martell Irby, announced he was retiring from playing football, according to Sports Illustrated.

Irby announced his retirement by way of a music video released June 4 under the name Audemar Tell, called "This is Goodbye," in which he detailed experiencing struggles with his mental health.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "988" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.

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