Joey Votto knows all too well about the negative effects post-traumatic stress disorder can cause. In the midst of the 2008 season, Votto engaged in his own bout with the condition while coping with his father's illness and subsequent death. Votto suffered from overwhelming panic attacks and deep depression, causing him to miss considerable action on the field, as he sought help to improve his mental health.
Eventually, Votto did receive the treatment and time that he needed, prompting him to bounce back better than ever, culminating into the National League MVP Award in 2010, as well as four straight seasons of leading the league in on-base percentage, among other achievements.
Now, Votto is spearheading an effort to help military personnel suffering from PTSD to get the help they need in order to get better. On Dec. 5, he has holding his first Joey Votto Foundation Benefit Night in Montgomery, Ohio, with proceeds set to benefit soldiers, veterans, and military families suffering from PTSD. The event will feature live and silent auctions where donors can bid on a plethora of memorabilia items including a jersey signed by Mariano Rivera, a baseball autographed by Ted Williams, and a trip for two to Los Angeles to meet legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, among others.
From Melissa Couto of the Canadian Baseball Network:
“There were a bunch of avenues I could go with, but because of my experiences in the past with emotional struggles, I wanted to help others who are going through mental health issues,” he said. “I chose a path I’m very passionate about and it’s something I’m familiar with.
“It makes sense to me from an experience standpoint, and it’s something I want to support.
“The goal is to try to raise money, raise awareness and provide potential donors with peace of mind about where their dollar is going and what my role is,” Votto said. “I hope to convey to people that I truly believe in this.”
Aside from the auctions, the event will also feature a Q&A session with Votto along with good friend and teammate Jay Bruce. Additionally, Votto said he believes a few of his other teammates will show up and support the cause, too.
This is stating the obvious, but it's great to see Votto reach out and support those in need, especially with something that hits so close to home for him. Mental health issues still have a certain stigma within our society as oppose to more apparent conditions such as physical shortcomings. Votto's stature as an elite athlete can do wonders in helping change the way people view mental health disorders.