From an outsider’s perspective, Bryce “Simba” Gaudi was sitting on prime of the world at 17. He graduated from Deerfield Seaside Excessive Faculty a semester early, accepted a scholarship to Georgia Tech as probably the greatest soccer recruits within the nation, and is every week away from his new chapter in Atlanta.
Issues appear to be going nicely for Gowdy, however because the saying goes, issues don’t at all times appear that means. In actuality, Gaudi was struggling. He’s struggling together with his impending milestone — one he’s labored his total life on — and his mom and two youthful brothers in South Florida are nonetheless attempting to make it occur.
Gowdy has at all times had a aim whereas his household slept within the automotive for a number of nights attempting to make ends meet.
Sadly, this stress and actuality reached a tipping level on December 30, 2019, when Gowdy was killed by a prepare in South Florida. The following day, Gaudí’s loss of life was dominated a suicide.
Gowdy’s life story — as brother, son, function mannequin, and elite sports activities pupil — is the topic of ESPN’s new documentary, “Lengthy Reside Seven: The Story of Bryce “Simba” Gowdy, now dwell on Undefeated on ESPN+.
Whereas Gowdy’s story is a tragedy, the documentary’s interviews, intimate footage, and general tone all do justice to the aim of a message that hopefully helps save lives.
Gowdy’s mom Shibbon Mitchell defined within the documentary: “What we’re going by means of may help lots of people, it’s actually stunning, however it’s additionally heartbreaking on the identical time.”
From tragedy to goal
Shibbon Mitchell misplaced her eldest son. Simply days earlier than Gaudí stepped onto the Georgia Tech campus as faculty athletes, her two different sons misplaced their older brothers and function fashions. Bryce’s loss of life additionally got here at a time when the Gaudí household was actually struggling, and when the heartbreak and ache lingered, Mitchell turned the tragedy right into a significant story.
Mitchell based the Bryce Gaudi Basis shortly after his son’s loss of life with a mission to share Bryce’s story and advocate for behavioral and psychological well being consciousness within the Black neighborhood.
She doesn’t need the native public psychological well being service to desert others once they want it most, one thing she described shortly earlier than Gowdy’s loss of life.
Mitchell tells her son’s story and relives these recollections in hopes of serving to all these in want. That’s one motive Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott performs the narrator within the documentary: “I simply wished to have the ability to assist a child who was going by means of what Bryce was going by means of and assist save life.”
Athletes assist break down psychological well being stigma
The psychological well being stigma has at all times existed, particularly on this planet of sports activities. We see athletes in any respect ranges as athletes, however on the finish of the day, they battle identical to everybody else.
Fortunately, the stigma surrounding psychological well being is dissipating rapidly as of late, as athletes in any respect ranges discuss what they’re going by means of and what they’re considering.
Take Tennessee Titans large receiver A.J. Brown, for instance, who just lately revealed that he had suicidal ideas in 2020. Brown is likely one of the NFL’s most spectacular younger abilities, however the strain is on. He turned to somebody, NFL large receiver Elijah Moore, to get by means of a troublesome time in his life.
Whereas Gowdy’s story is heartbreaking, it serves an especially necessary goal: to normalize conversations about psychological well being, particularly within the black neighborhood, and finally assist save lives.
Lengthy Reside Seven: The Story of Bryce “Simba” Gaudi is a part of ESPN’s Black Historical past At all times platform and Undefeated, which launched in January 2021 to have fun the intersection of sports activities, race and tradition all year long, to additional discover the unique story.