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‘Changing the Narrative’ on Mental Health Stigmas

Following Son’s Death, Maryland Football Coach Locksley Promotes Heightened Awareness

By Matt Gilpin ’19

UMD football helmet with green ribbon sticker

The Terps will wear a ribbon on their helmets during their highly anticipated game against No. 5 Iowa tonight in recognition of national Mental Health Awareness Week, which begins on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Meiko Locksley was everything Maryland Head Football Coach Michael Locksley and his wife, Kia, could want in a son. He was smart, a talented piano player, a star football player for his father at the University of New Mexico, and a devoted big brother to his siblings, Kai and Kori.

He also struggled with bipolar disorder and later schizoaffective disorder, which would strip him of his vibrant personality and turn him into a “zombie,” the coach recently recalled. The Locksleys did everything they could to make Meiko’s life more comfortable, and it seemed like the family was regaining a sense of normalcy until the police knocked on the door at 3 a.m. on Sept. 3, 2017.

Meiko, 25, had been shot and killed in Columbia, Md. To this day, the Locksleys and police are unsure what transpired—no one with information on the incident has come forward, and there has been no arrest.

Locksley is now at the forefront of promoting the cause of mental health at the University of Maryland and beyond. In advance of national Mental Health Awareness Week (Oct. 3-9), the Terps will take the field tonight against Iowa with a green ribbon on their helmets as a symbol of mental health awareness. An in-game public service announcement video will also focus on destigmatizing mental health.

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