HOUSTON — HOUSTON – A professional soccer player in Houston is now following the lead of a Falcon.
Scrolling through Instagram last December, Gabby Seiler wasn’t searching for anything in particular. What Gabby found, though, was an incredible likeness of someone she knows.
“I was, like, ‘Oh my gosh.' I was not prepared for this at all."
“I'm, like, hysterically crying on the couch,” she recalled with a laugh.
While Gabby can joke about it now, at the time, she was extremely emotional. Emotional because what she saw on her screen was another professional athlete dealing with pain. A pain she’s also familiar with.
In December, Hayden Hurst, a tight end for the Atlanta Falcons, shared intimate details about his battle with depression in a video produced by the team. Its been seen roughly nine million times.
“I just feel like I related to it, because I think for so long, I felt like I was living -- not in a closet -- but it's almost like I felt like I couldn't be myself,” Seiler said.
Now in her first season with the Houston Dash, Gabby, who’s from the Atlanta area, says during her final year of college at the University of Florida is when she finally realized “that maybe I'm a little bit different.”
Gabby lives with anxiety.
Its why she felt compelled to post her own message of support to Hayden. The Falcons saw it, then asked her to be a part of their next video, thanking Hayden, which she did.
“You’ve impacted me and inspired me to continue to speak about mental health because it’s something I have struggled with,” she tells Hurst in the video.
Still, that Gabby Seiler doesn’t sound like the one her new teammates know.
“(She’s) such a fun bubbly-like, good person,” said Nichelle Prince.
“I think, for me, I have learned a lot the last couple of years of perspective, I guess,” Seiler said. “I think I've really come to realize that like, even just like saying hi to somebody or reaching out to somebody, or even just as something as saying, like, ‘How are you?’, it really can go a really, long way.”
That’s how Gabby plans to keep the conversation going.
Hurst now has his own foundation The Hayden Hurst Family Foundation. Its mission is to help youth, military, and others in need regarding their health, education and mental wellness, according to the organization’s website.
The goal is to “break the stigma.” Credit Gabby Seiler with an assist.