Standard University goalkeeper and soccer captain Katie Meyer’s parents have shared their heartbreak after it was revealed she died by suicide.
The 22-year-old, who was described as “larger than life” and “extremely committed to everything and everyone in her world” by her university, passed away on Tuesday at a residence hall on the campus in San Jose, California.
Her parents, Steve and Gina Meyer, appeared on NBC’s Today show on Friday and confirmed their daughter took her own life.
“The last couple days are like a parent’s worst nightmare and you don’t wake up from it. So it’s just horrific,” Ms Meyer said.
“I don’t even think it’s hit us yet. We’re still in shock.”
While Ms Meyer said there were “no red flags” prior to Katie’s death, her father said they believe it may have been influenced by an email she received from Stanford officials warning that she could potentially face disciplinary action.
“Katie, being Katie, was defending a teammate on campus over an incident and the repercussions of her defending that teammate [included potential discipline],” Mr Meyer said, without offering any details about the incident.
Her mother added: “We have not seen that email yet. She had been getting letters for a couple months. This letter was kind of the final letter that there was going to be a trial or some kind of something. This is the only thing that we can come up with that triggered something.”
Ms Meyer also said the immense pressure her daughter faced as a student athlete may have played a role.
“There is anxiety and there is stress to be perfect, to be the best, to be number one,” she said.
Stanford responded to the parents’ speculation in a statement to Today but refused to confirm or deny the email.
“Our entire community is devastated by Katie’s death, and we share our deepest condolences with Katie’s family and everyone who knew her at Stanford, across the country and around the world,” the statement read.
“Katie touched so many lives. We are not able to share information about confidential student disciplinary matters. We as a university community continue to grieve with Katie’s family and cherish our memories of her de ella. ”
Deputies were called to the Stanford University dormitory on Tuesday afternoon “for a report of a death investigation,” and “located one unresponsive female student inside the dormitory”.
Katie was found to have died from “self-inflicted” injuries and “there is no indication of foul play,” according to a statement issued by the County of Santa Clara on Thursday.
In its statement, Stanford said Meyer was “fiercely competitive” and “made two critical saves in a penalty shootout against North Carolina to help Stanford win its third NCAA women’s soccer championship in 2019.”
“Katie was a bright shining light for so many on the field and in our community,” the university added. “There are no words to express the emptiness that we feel at this moment.”
Support will be made available for students affected by the news.
Meyer, a senior International Relations major and Resident Assistant, was originally from Burbank, California. Many sports bodies and figures have since paid tribute to her, including media site Just Women’s Sportswith whom she interned with.
“Katie was one of the first athletes we ever interviewed. She went on to become an intern at JWS and was a valuable member of our team,” the news website said. “With every interaction from her, we felt her passion, charisma, intelligence and humor.”
“Katie was a tremendous leader, a national champion, and someone whose energy inspired everyone she knew. She will be greatly missed. All of our thoughts are with her family and friends of her. ”
If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.