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Brian Kelly stresses the importance of focusing on mental health

Fighting Irish running back Jahmir Smith decided to step away from the Notre Dame football program to improve his mental fitness
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 11:33 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - 2020 has taken a toll on so many due to everything that has happened in just the last 10 months.

For the first time this season, Brian Kelly had a player leave the Notre Dame football program to focus on his mental health.

Fighting Irish running back Jahmir Smith decided to step away from the Notre Dame football program to improve his mental fitness. Smith says it’s tough to take that first step towards improving but he was encouraged by Kelly to make this move to work on himself.

Kelly says he loves Smith for his courage more than anything else and stressed the importance of handling mental health as a head coach.

“It’s always been a concern when you’re playing a competitive game, one where there’s so many pressures to live up to expectations, whether they be your own or others,” Kelly said. “Keep on that at a national institution, bring in the academics, and mental health is certainly something that I’ve always had as something on my plate. In my 30 years, I just think that it doesn’t carry the same negative connotation that it has over the years.”

Kelly says he encourages his players to seek help.

So no Jahmir Smith on Saturday against Pitt. Offensive lineman Josh Lugg will also not play due to an ankle injury but wide receiver Lawrence Keys is back in action after being in concussion protocol.

Kickoff on Saturday against Pitt is at 3:30 PM on ABC.

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