Are You Invincible?

Recently, the world of sports has been littered with headlines of athletes making bad decisions, and there to help student-athletes stay out of that limelight is syndicated radio host and keynote speaker, Adam Ritz.
Ritz came to K-State to talk with its student-athletes about social awareness on Sept. 17, and based his discussion around the question, "Are you invincible?" 
From being careful on social media to hazing issues to alcohol consumption, Ritz used real-life examples from athletes nation-wide who all believed 'It would never happen to me.'
"All it takes is one night out where all the stars align, you could be totally sober but one decision could completely change your life," Ritz said to the wide-eyed group of Wildcats. "I always look at the worst case scenario - everything you do, everywhere you go, know what the worst case scenario could be."
Ritz, a former Purdue football tight end, first shared his message on social awareness with a high school football team in Indianapolis, Indiana, five years ago. He said he didn't know it as he was giving his presentation, but an administrator from the NFL's Indianapolis Colts was in attendance and liked what he saw. Before Ritz knew it, he was standing in front of the Colts giving his presentation about social awareness. 
"That's when it really started to come together," Ritz explained. "I felt like this was a message that really needed to be told. It's a story that needs to be heard and that can help. So, I started five years ago with high school football, and it's just grown from there."
Since then, he has shared his message with athletes around the country with the hopes of educating them about making smart decisions. 
"I thought it was really good," said K-State women's basketball senior guard Heidi Brown. "I think everybody needs to hear the things that he had to tell us and teach us. It was a great learning atmosphere too. I don't think people realize sometimes that they are unaware of what could go on in a certain situation."
As for what she took away from Ritz's presentation, Brown continued, "As student-athletes, we need to be proactive of our surroundings, always be on the lookout of the things that are around you. If something's not right, we should be aware of it and stand up for what you believe in and what you think should be right and not right."
The event took place at the K-State Alumni Center and was put together by Cori Pinkett, director of life skills for athletics, and overall, Ritz said he enjoyed having the opportunity to interact with student-athletes at K-State.
"They were great, you can tell a lot about an organization by the way the student-athletes pay attention," said Ritz. "They were very respectful and they paid attention. I think that we made a difference. You could see the looks on their faces, and those were the looks on their faces that I wanted to see."
Working with collegiate student-athletes is something Ritz enjoys. By having the opportunity to share his stories and the stories of others about making smart decisions, he hopes that the student-athletes he reaches will now finish out their collegiate careers regret-free.
"The best part is hearing the feedback that this is a message that's been told for decades, but they've never had it told in this way. It makes it stick," concluded Ritz. "There's retention, they get it, I get emails from student-athletes two, three, four years later that say 'Hey I just graduated and I wanted to let you know I got my degree and I still remember that one story you told, I use it in my own life.'"
"The overall feedback from everywhere I go is the best part."

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