By Sabrina Okeson, Sydney Young, Arica Jolicoeur, Brianna Boner, Ellen Lescarbeau, Shelana Ysen
Ethan Fisher, convicted felon and former student-athlete traveled to Bemidji State University on Tuesday, March 29th to talk to nearly 300 students, faculty, and community members about substance addiction and the consequences that he faced from his decisions.
BSU student-athletes were required to attend Ethan’s speech because, “Ethan was a student-athlete and he is speaking on issues such as drugs, alcohol, peer pressure and addictive tendencies that are still relevant to those who are student athletes at this time,” says Student Athlete Advisory Committee President Jessica Dulz.
Some student-athletes were skeptical about going to the presentation. A senior on the Women’s Tennis team, Deanie Hatch says, “This is probably going to be just another one of those speeches where someone talks at us and tells us not to make the same mistakes that they did when they were our age.” However, the emotions ran high moving people to tears and leaving the audience silent with a lasting impression.
In the 8th grade, Ethan began his destructive lifestyle by starting to smoke marijuana. From there, he fell in and out of his ‘reoccurring pattern’ of getting clean, doing well in classes, and playing college basketball but soon he would relapse under peer pressure and end up abusing substances once again. All of his harmful decisions resulted in vehicular manslaughter at the age of 24.
Ethan was sentenced to prison for 10 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, however based on his enrollment and graduation of a Boot Camp program he was released after 3 years. “If I could do 30 more years of time to take back what I did, I would,” says Ethan.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association conducted a study on 291 university campuses across the nation. In the study they found that 85% of student-athletes admitted to binge drinking at some point in their college careers. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism binge drinking is defined as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past 30 days.
Even though student-athletes were required to attend they feel they left with a better understand of what their actions of today can lead to in the future. Hatch says, “It made me realize the influence my decisions have on others in a more real world perspective. You always hear about it but seeing it affect real people was a major impact.”
It is because of presentations like this that the alcohol incidents relating to the student body are down 25% from last year alone. Ethan ended his presentation with, “All it takes is one poor decision to screw up your life.”