Former Notre Dame running back George Atkinson III passes away

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - Former Notre Dame running back George Atkinson III died at the age of 27 on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Atkinson's twin bother died by suicide more than a year ago.

Atkinson starred for the Irish on kickoff returns as a freshman in 2011 before playing a key role in the backfield in 2012 and 2013.

Atkinson's mother suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and drug addiction. Following his bother's death, Atkinson wrote an emotional open letter to children struggling with heartache. He said he was never taught to express emotions.

Dr. Erin Leonard, a Mishawaka-based psychotherapist, talked to 16 News Now about the vital nature of seeking professional help for dealing with trauma of any kind.

"It's really important to spend time in a therapeutic setting, counseling, or a spiritual person who you like to open up to, friends like that, so they can begin to talk about what happened and recover from the trauma," Leonard said.

George and his twin, Josh, were the sons of Former Oakland Raiders defensive back George Atkinson II.