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Stephen Weatherly helps to educate youth about unhealthy relationships

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And he’s getting some help from his friends

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Minnesota Vikings’ defensive end Stephen Weatherly made a big impact on his team when he stepped in for Everson Griffen during the early part of the season. Now, as the offseason is coming to a close, he’s making an impact on the lives of young people.

Weatherly is one of 20,000 trained facilitators that are part of the One Love Foundation, a charity that helps to teach young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships. The Foundation is named for Yeardley Love, a Virginia college student that was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2010. Weatherly’s involvement with the foundation goes back to his days at Vanderbilt, and now he’s getting some of his teammates involved as well.

As this story from the Bismarck Tribune reports, Weatherly has worn shoes representing the One Love Foundation for the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign for the past two seasons, as has his teammate, safety Anthony Harris.

Tomorrow at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, he’ll be joined by running back Ameer Abdullah as part of the University of Minnesota’s second annual Mental Health Awareness Day. There will be 50 patients from the University’s Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic that will get a tour of the Vikings’ facilities in Eagan, as well as hearing Weatherly and Abdullah speak.

Weatherly was moved to work with the foundation because of a relationship he had during his freshman year of high school.

“I had an unhealthy relationship, my very first one,’’ he said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out she was verbally and emotionally abusive. I didn’t know the signs, so having to go through that led me through some depression. I was super young, so I didn’t know how to deal with stuff like that.”

. . .

“It’s your first relationship, so you don’t really know what’s a healthy relationship and what’s not healthy,’’ he said. “And she says things like, ‘Oh, what are you going to do, leave me? I’m the only person who likes you.’

“I thought I wasn’t worthy. I thought I wasn’t good enough for anybody else, and so that leads to depression. But I was able to come out on the other side thanks to the love and support of my family. So, I want to go out and educate others.’’

Kudos to Stephen Weatherly, Ameer Abdullah, and Anthony Harris (and any of their teammates that may also be involved that weren’t mentioned in the story) for getting out into the community and helping young people to learn what a healthy relationship looks like, and what they can do to avoid the unhealthy ones.

You can learn more about the One Love Foundation by checking out their website at www.joinonelove.org.

(It looks like the Bismarck Tribune got this story, originally, from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. My apologies for not acknowledging them.)