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Valerie Cagle Opens Up About Mental Health in Heartfelt Instagram Post

May 31, 2024

Clemson softball star Valerie Cagle, a four-time All-American, has taken to Instagram to reveal her ongoing battle with mental health issues. In a poignant post coinciding with the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, Cagle shared the struggles that kept her off the field for several games this season.

"To close out Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to share something that I haven’t talked about before," Cagle began. "Pictures like this are my favorite, and they don’t show the whole story. I have felt alone, trapped, blamed myself for my experiences, and have felt so much shame because of the mental health struggles I have and continue to experience."

Cagle, who has been a cornerstone of Clemson’s softball program, revealed the depth of her struggles and the difficult decision to step away from the game she loves to focus on her well-being. "It got to the point where I had to take myself off the field and take some time to figure out what I need in order to get back in a healthy way," she wrote.

Reflecting on the support system around her, Cagle noted, "Someone close to me asked before this season what I wanted to use my platform for, and I really wasn’t sure. I wasn’t ready to share this part of my story because of how hard it is for me to accept myself. When I made the decision to take a break, it shifted my perspective. I realized how much the people around me make the sport what it is for me, and I want to use my platform to strengthen this community. You are not alone and it’s ok to not be ok 💚"

Despite missing several games, Cagle's impact on the field this season was undeniable. She finished with a .338 average, racking up 50 hits, including seven doubles, seven home runs, and a career-high three triples. She led the Tigers with 42 RBIs and scored 27 runs. In the circle, Cagle posted a 2.54 ERA, notching eight victories through 96.1 innings while striking out a team-high 101 batters. Defensively, the versatile utility player/pitcher recorded 185 putouts and 37 assists.

Cagle's revelation underscores the increasing importance of mental health awareness in sports. Her courage in sharing her story aims to inspire others who may be struggling silently. As she continues her journey, Cagle's message of solidarity and support serves as a powerful reminder that it's okay to seek help and prioritize mental well-being.

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Valerie Cagle Opens Up About Mental Health in Heartfelt Instagram Post

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