Sports & Rec

BroncoBOLD’s emphasis on mental health awareness and psychological fitness

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson

Boise State has raised awareness of mental health by creating Bronco Bold, a new program that gives students the opportunity to share their voice and have that voice be heard. 

The program serves as a therapeutic outlet for those who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Bronco Bold is assisting with mental health problems student-athletes may be having with help from coaches and staff within the athletic program.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during late June, 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use. 

The program was established on three core foundations: reduce stigma, raise awareness and cultivate resilience. 

Joe Nickell, associate athletic director of communications, has worked with third parties to bring more support to the program.

[Photo of a Boise State football player]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

“Since the 2017-18 academic year, third parties have been contracted with us to work with student athletes,” Nickell said. One example of a third party contact that Boise State has reached out to is Side Arm. The athletic department has invested in their members, according to Nickell these sources are here to help and work as a team off of the field.

A variety of occupations and professions are coming together in order to provide for students. It is imperative to individuals such as Joe Nickell, Jade Loville, women’s basketball junior point guard, and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Leon Rice that Boise State’s representatives  are continuing to contribute in building a reputation with the program. They are moving forward to make a name for themselves and setting examples through their quotes.

There is independence that exists in the field of competition. While competition tends to divide Bronco Bold provides company to those who compete and struggle mentally.

“Bronco Bold is about taking care of our mental health the same way we take care of our physical health. It’s recognizing that it’s ok to not be ok,” Loville said. 

Loville is the daughter of eight year NFL veteran running back Derek Loville, who played for three teams during his nine year career. 

Mental health is not selective when it comes to different people struggling, according to Loville. There is school spirit behind the initiative and how it affects the performance of those who represent Boise State. 

“Bronco Bold is about coming together as an athletic department, a campus, and a community and building a culture of resiliency and strength. It’s about making mental health a priority,” Rice said. 

Rice has been a turning point in making history at Boise State with his position as  head coach for 10 years with the men’s basketball team. During this time, he has managed to take the Broncos to five playoff tournaments including eight 20 win seasons.

Women’s Basketball Head Coach Gordan Presnell has been coaching at Boise State for the last 16 years and seen the changes in the athletic department over the years.

“Bronco Bold is important to everyone because mental health impacts us all. There is no weakness when it comes to seeking help,” Presnell said. For more information regarding Bronco Bold, visit or text BroncoBOLD to 41444.

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